December 10, 2008 nº. 715 - Vol. 6

"The challenges we face today are as daunting as those that confronted the Declaration's drafters."

Ban Ki-moon
On the 60th Anniversary of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights

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  • Top News

White House 'agrees' car bail-out

The White House and leading congressional Democrats have reached agreement on a $15bn bail-out for the "Big Three" US car firms. The idea is to make sure the car companies survive into next year, when they could get longer-term help. GM and Chrysler say they need billions of dollars to make it to the end of the year. General Motors and Chrysler say they risk ruin without the aid, while Ford says it may need funds in the future. Bush is said to want strict conditions attached to any agreement to bail out the firms. He is said to be seeking tough oversight for the three car-makers to ensure that the money is accompanied by sound financial recovery plans. This follows criticism that the $700bn bail-out of the financial sector was insufficiently detailed.

World marks UN Human Rights day

Nations around the world are marking the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The 30-point document was adopted by the UN in the aftermath of WWII and emphasizes rights and freedoms that are held to apply to everyone in the world. The Declaration has come to form the basis of much international law and has provided moral and legal backing for UN action against human rights violators. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said it was needed now as much as in 1948. The world faces a "food emergency and global financial crisis" and "there is political repression in too many countries," Ban said. "As ever, the most vulnerable continue to be on the frontlines of hardship and abuse." Much progress remained to be done towards fulfilling the ambitions set down in the Declaration. For women around the world, domestic violence remained a daily reality and that about one billion people "are daily denied basic rights to adequate food and clean water".

Dire forecast for the global economy and world trade

The world economy is on the brink of a rare global recession, the World Bank said in a forecast released Tuesday, with world trade projected to fall next year for the first time since 1982 and capital flows to developing countries forecast to plunge 50 percent. The projections are among the most dire in a litany of recent gloomy prognostications for the world economy, and officials at the World Bank warned that if they proved accurate, the downturn could throw many developing countries into crisis and keep tens of millions of people in poverty. Even more troubling, several economists said, there is no obvious locomotive to propel a recovery. American consumers are unlikely to return to their old spending habits, even after the United States climbs out of its current financial crisis. With growth in China slowing sharply, consumers there are not about to pick up the slack from the Americans. The collapse in oil prices — a side-effect of the crisis — has knocked the wind out of consumers in oil-exporting countries.

World-first climate change law guide

Rodrigo Sales, partner at Trench, Rossi e Watanabe – a Baker & McKenzie associated firm – is among the specialists who contributed to the world's first Global Climate Change Law Guide. Baker & McKenzie has brought together climate change experts from across the globe to author the Guide. Jurisdictions covered in the guide include Australia, Brazil, the European Union, Mexico, the United Kingdom, United States, China and Japan.

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  • Crumbs!

1 - Governor 'tried Obama seat sale' (Read more)

2 - Brazil court rules on Indian land (Read more)

3 - Economist Withholds Issue From Thailand on Royal Law (Read more)

4 - Panel Urges Obama to Consider Hacker-Response Plan (Read more)

5- Iowa Gay Marriage Ban Headed to Court (Read more)

6- Congress to vote on car bail-out (Read more)

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  • MiMIC Journal

On the eve of the 10 December anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, hundreds of Chinese lawyers, writers, academics and artists issued an online call for greater freedoms in China and democratic reforms, including an end to Communist one-party rule.

Brazil says China offers $10 billion loan to help develop oil fields

Brazil's energy minister said China is offering to help his country develop huge offshore oil fields with a $10 billion loan. Brazil has discovered what it said are massive offshore oil reserves beneath the sea floor and under the Earth's pre-salt layer. Drilling for oil at such depths will require expensive technology. The Brazilian energy minister said developing the oil fields will be profitable only if crude prices stay above $30 a barrel.

China court rejects tainted milk class action lawsuit

The Hebei Supreme Court in China on Monday rejected a class action suit filed against government-owned dairy farm Shijiazhuang Sanlu Group Co. by the families of children who died or were harmed as a result of tainted milk. Lawyers for the families said that the while the prosecutor's office accepted their papers, it refused to accept the suit because the government was still investigating. The lawsuit, filed on behalf of 63 plaintiffs, lays out a compensation package of about $991,000 for medical fees, food and transportation for the families involved, and about $1 million for psychological damage. Lawyers plan to continue pursuing the case.

  • Grammatigalhas

Legal Meaning Is Not Everyday Meaning

Barrister

In England, a legal practitioner whose function is similar to that of a U.S. Trial lawyer, although the barrister does not prepare the case from the start. His solicitor assembles the materials necessary for presentation to the court and settles cases out of court.

Solicitor

British lawyer who advises clients, represents them in the lower courts, and prepares cases for barristers to try in higher courts.

Attorney

A person admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction and authorized to perform criminal and civil legal functions on behalf of clients. A person legally appointed by another to act as his or her agent in the transaction of business, specifically one qualified and licensed to act for plaintiffs and defendants in legal proceedings.

Lawyer

A lawyer, or legal practitioner, is a person certified to give legal advice who advises clients in legal matters. Some lawyers represent clients in courts of law and in other forms of dispute resolution.

Advocate

To support or defend by argument; to recommend publicly. An individual who presents or argues another's case; one who gives legal advice and pleads the cause of another before a court or tribunal; a counselor. A person admitted to the practice of law who advises clients of their legal rights and argues their cases in court.

Consultant

A foreign attorney recognized to advise clients on the laws of the bar under which the attorney is admitted to practice. For example, legal professionals from foreign jurisdictions practicing their home country law in the United States, generally in a limited manner.

Everyday "Legal" Jargon

Legal education

Legal education is the education of individuals who intend to become legal professionals (attorneys and judges) or those who simply intend to use their law degree to some end, either related to law (such as politics or academic) or unrelated (such as business entrepreneurship).

In addition to the qualifications required to became a practicing lawyer, legal education also encompasses higher degrees such as doctorates, for more advanced academic study.

In many countries other than the United States, law is an undergraduate degree. Graduates of such a program are eligible to become lawyers by passing the country's equivalent of a bar exam. In such countries, graduate programs in law enable students to embark on academic careers or become specialized in a particular area of law.

In the United States, law is a graduate degree, which students embark upon only after completing an undergraduate degree in some other field (usually a bachelor's degree), and is considered to be a graduate or professional school program. The undergraduate degree can be in any field, though most American lawyers hold bachelor's degrees in the humanities and social sciences; legal studies as an undergraduate study is available at a few institutions, like Amherst College. American law schools are usually an autonomous entity within a larger university.

Faculty of law is another name for a law school or school of law, the terms commonly used in the United States. It may be distinguishable from law school in the sense that a faculty is a subdivision of a university on the same rank with other faculties, i.e. faculty of medicine, faculty of graduate studies, whereas a law school or school of law may have a more autonomous status within a university, or may be totally independent of any other post-secondary educational institution.

In addition in some countries, including the United Kingdom and some states of Australia, the final stages of vocational legal education required to qualify to practice law are carried out outside the university system. The requirements for qualification as a barrister or as a solicitor are covered in those articles. See advocate for details of the requirements for qualification as an advocate in Scotland.

United States

The Education of Lawyers in the United States is generally undertaken through a law school program.

The professional degree granted by U.S. law schools is the Juris Doctor or Doctor of Jurisprudence (J.D.). Once a prospective lawyer has been awarded the J.D. (or other appropriate degree), he or she must pass a state bar examination in order to be licensed to practice as an Attorney at Law.

The Juris Doctor (J.D.), like the Doctor of Medicine (M.D.), is a professional doctorate. The Doctor of Jurisprudence (J.S.D.), Doctor of Judicial Science (S.J.D.), and Doctor of Comparative Law (D.C.L.), are research and academic-based doctorate level degrees. In the U.S. the Legum Doctor (LL.D.) is only awarded as an honorary degree.

Academic degrees for non-lawyers are available at the baccalaureate and master's level. A common baccalaureate level degree is a Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies (B.S.). Academic master's degrees in legal studies are available, such as the Master of Studies (M.S.), and the Master of Professional Studies (M.P.S.). Such a degree is not required to enter a J.D. program.

Foreign lawyers seeking to practice in the U.S., who do not have a Juris Doctor (J.D.), often seek to obtain a Juris Master (J.M.), Master of Laws (LL.M.), Master of Comparative Law (M.C.L.), or a Master of Jurisprudence (M.J.).

Legal education in the United States normally proceeds along the following route:

  • Undergraduate education (usually 4 years)

  • Law school (usually 3 years)

  • Judicial clerkship (optional and uncommon (less than 10%) -- usually lasts 1 year)

  • Admission to the bar (usually by taking a state's bar exam)

  • Legal practice

A law school is an institution where prospective lawyers obtain legal degrees. In the United States, law is a graduate degree, the pursuit of which students undertake only after having completed an undergraduate degree in some other field (usually a bachelor's degree). The law school program is considered to be a graduate or professional school program. The undergraduate degree can be in any field, though most American lawyers hold bachelor's degrees in the humanities and social sciences. American law schools are usually an autonomous entity within a larger university.

In most other countries, law is an undergraduate degree and graduates of such a program are eligible to become lawyers by passing the country's equivalent of a bar exam. In such countries, graduate programs in law enable students to embark on academic careers or become specialized in a particular area of law.

In most cases the degree awarded by American law schools is the Juris Doctor, or J.D., degree. In contrast, the LL.B. degree is still the standard qualification in other common law jurisdictions, mostly in the Commonwealth of Nations. Other, higher, degrees that are awarded include the Master of Laws degree (LL.M.) and the Doctor of Juridical Science degree (J.S.D. or S.J.D.).

Once a student has graduated from law school he or she is expected to pursue admission to the bar in order to practice. Requirements for membership the bar vary across the United States.

United Kingdom

The term "qualifying law degree" refers to a degree (generally a Bachelor of Laws degree or its equivalent) from a university that is accredited by the Inns of Court or the Law Society of England and Wales and in which a passing grade has been achieved in designated core modules of the degree. A qualifying law degree in the England and Wales consists of six modules drawn from the following subject areas:

  • Public law (constitutional/administrative)

  • European Union law

  • Procedural Law (including law of evidence)

  • Criminal law

  • Law of obligations (contract, restitution, and tort)

  • Property law (real property)

  • Trusts and equity

Upon completion of the degree, graduates are generally qualified to apply for membership of the bar or law society. The membership eligibility bestowed may be subject to completion of professional exams. A student must generally gain a further qualification at postgraduate level, for example the Legal Practice Course or Bar Vocational Course to be able to practice in England and Wales, and they will not be able to work in Scotland. Interestingly, the University of Dundee is unique in the UK in offering qualifying law degrees for Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

A bar association is a professional body of lawyers. Some bar associations are responsible for the regulation of the legal profession in their jurisdiction; others are professional organizations dedicated to serving their members; in many cases, they are both.

In many Commonwealth jurisdictions, the "bar association" comprises lawyers who are qualified as barristers or advocates (collectively known as "the bar", or "members of the bar"), while the "law society" comprises solicitors. These bodies are sometimes mutually exclusive. In other jurisdictions, the "bar" may refer to the entire community of persons engaged in the practice of law.

A Law Society in Commonwealth jurisdictions is an association of lawyers, which has a regulatory role which includes the right to supervise the training and qualifications of lawyers. Where there is a distinction between barristers and solicitors, solicitors are regulated by the Law Society and barristers by a separate Bar council.

Scotland

Scots law differs from that of England and other common law countries. When Scotland became part of United Kingdom in 1707, its legal system remained separate and this is still true today. Scots law is founded upon Roman or civil law, although today it has evolved into a hybrid system, using both civil and common law.

Qualification to the profession is to the Law Society of Scotland for solicitors, or to the Faculty of Advocates for those wishing to practise as Advocates at the High Court of Justiciary or the Court of Session.

In Scotland barristers are called Advocates and are members of and regulated by the Faculty of Advocates.

Japan

The Japanese legal education system is driven more by examination than by formal schooling. The profession of barristers, known as bengoshi, is highly regulated, and the passage rate for the bar exam is around three percent. Prospective attorneys who do pass the exam must take it three or four times before passing it, and a number of specialized "cram schools" exist for prospective lawyers. After passing the bar exam, prospective barristers undergo a one-year training period at the Legal Research and Training Institute of the Supreme Court of Japan. During this period, the most capable trainees are "selected out" to become career judges; others may become prosecutors or private practitioners.

In 2004, the Japanese government passed a law allowing for the creation of three-year law schools (????? hoka daigakuin). The 2006 bar examination will be the first in Japanese history to require a law school degree as a prerequisite. In the past, although there has been no educational requirement, most of those who passed the examination had earned undergraduate degrees from "elite" Japanese universities such as Tokyo, Kyoto, Waseda, Keio and Chuo.

A number of other legal professions exist in Japan, such as patent attorneys (benrishi), tax attorneys (zeirishi), scriveners, etc., entry to each of which is governed by a separate examination.

As If Your Life Depended On It… or How to get to Carnegie Hall? - Practice, practice

Sea-lawyer

Literally a sailor who, like his land-based counterpart the barrack-room lawyer, is disposed to raise awkward points about rights and wrongs, as lawyers are prone to do. In other words, he is an insubordinate nuisance, sometimes even more troublesome by virtue of having right on his side. Now used of both men and women.

Devils' advocate

A person who presents, usually for the sake of argument, an opposing view which he does not himself hold. Translation from the Latin ‘advocatus diaboli’, a theological term used in the Roman Catholic church for the official given the duty of arguing against the proposed beatification of a dead person during the formal deliberation of the matter, in order to ensure that the case is examined from all sides.

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  • Historia Verdadera

Reelección

La Asamblea Nacional de Venezuela, dominada por seguidores del presidente Hugo Chávez, comenzó el martes un proceso de enmienda constitucional para eliminar los límites a la reelección del mandatario y permitir su candidatura en los comicios del 2012.

México – Japón

En los últimos cinco años México se ha consolidado como el primer socio comercial de Japón en América Latina, ya que desde 2003, con la firma del Acuerdo de Asociación Económica México-Japón, el comercio bilateral ha aumentado 55%, según la Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores existen planes para intensificar esta cooperación.

Licitación

Pemex licitará un contrato para la inyección de gas nitrógeno en diversos proyectos que se tienen contemplados en el yacimiento de Chicontepec, según la empresa el uso de este mecanismos de recuperación secundaria es para incrementar la producción de hidrocarburos y aumentar el valor económico del activo conocido como Aceite Terciario del Golfo.

Argentina – EE.UU.

Los EE.UU. reclaman un proceso "justo y abierto" por el caso Edelap, dijo el embajador Earl Wayne, respecto a la denuncia que presentó el ENRE, ente Regulador de la Electricidad , que responsabiliza a los directivos de Edelap por presuntos delitos contables, tributarios y de defraudación al Estado.

  • Brief News

Court weighs 'extraordinary rendition' case

An appeals court heard arguments in the case of Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen who was arrested in New York and sent to Syria for interrogation. Arar is seeking permission to sue the U.S. government for violating his right to due process.

New French life for ex-Farc rebel

Wilson Bueno Largo, a deserter from Colombia's rebel Farc group is travelling to asylum in France with former hostage Ingrid Betancourt. The ex-rebel fled a Farc camp in October with one of the group's high-profile hostages, politician Oscar Tulio Lizcano. Bueno has been offered a new life in France and a reward of more than $400,000.

Safety trumps yield in bill sales

Treasury sold four-week notes at a 0% yield for the first time, with investors in effect giving their cash to the government for safe-keeping until 2009.

9/11 defendants seek to enter guilty pleas in capital case

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, an alleged 9/11 mastermind, and four co-defendants, said they wanted to confess to the 9/11 conspiracy and asked a military judge to take their guilty pleas. The move came as the court was scheduled to hear a host of defense motions challenging the military charges against the defendants. The judge, Col. Stephen Henley, ruled that Mohammed, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali and Walid bin Attash could drop the motions entered on their behalf and enter pleas. But defense lawyers claimed that the other two defendants are mentally incompetent to plead guilty. So the judge deferred a decision until psychological evaluations were considered by the military commission. Then the other three defendants asked to defer their own guilty pleas until the question of their co-defendants’ mental competency is settled. Con law expert and Harvard Law School prof Noah Feldman. “This is an extremely interesting development from a legal standpoint,” says Feldman, “because it opens the possibility of future conflicts over defendants’ willingness to participate in their own trial. Their position could be that the trial is merely an attempt to make this look legitimate when it's not. By pleading guilty, they draw attention to what they consider its illegitimacy."

State governor held in US probe

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has been arrested, accused of trying to trade the Senate seat left vacant by US President-elect Barack Obama. Blagojevich, as governor, has sole authority to select a successor to Obama as junior Illinois senator. FBI investigators said telephone intercepts showed he was trying to sell or trade the seat for personal benefit. Prosecutors said Obama, who is not close to Blagojevich, was not involved in the alleged wrongdoing.

France fined over GM crop delay

The EU's top court has ordered France to pay a 10m-euro ($12.9m) fine for delaying implementing EU rules on genetically modified (GM) crops. The European Court of Justice said France's conduct was "unlawful". France has refused to apply a 2002 law which set out how biotech crops could be planted in areas where other conventional crops were being grown. The Luxembourg-based court said its ruling would act as a warning to others that ignoring EU rules had a price.

Iraq forces agreement ends contractor immunity

Security companies are the most visible symbol of the booming private contractor industry that has accompanied America's five-year occupation of Iraq. But the new Iraqi-American security pact going into effect in January will end the immunity from prosecution in Iraq the companies have enjoyed.

Hong Kong court rules inmates have constitutional right to vote

A judge in the Court of First Instance of the High Court of Hong Kong ruled on Monday that inmates have a constitutional right to vote while serving sentences. The court's decision stipulates that the justice department and the electoral commission must find a way to implement it within 14 days. A spokesman from the Constitutional Affairs and Mainlaind Bureau said that the government will study the judgment and consider how to proceed. The court ruling would enable inmates to vote in territory elections for the first time in Hong Kong's history. Inmates should have the right to vote according to Article 21 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights that states that the people's will should be expressed in "periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage." The European Convention on Human Rights protects the right to free elections, and only nine states, including the UK, do not allow inmates the right to vote. In the US, federal law allows states to determine their own voting rules, resulting in a full range of restrictions and freedoms to inmate's right to vote across the states.

Rector bars law clinic from acting against other schools

The rector of Tel Aviv University has forbidden its law clinics from representing anyone filing a complaint against any of the country's seven universities or affiliated institutions. A university spokeswoman previously said Leviatan considered it wrong for one university to intervene in another institution's affairs by siding with workers against the administration. The clinic, which was established to provide hands-on experience for law students, published a notice on its Web site saying the "pressure" to stop representing the Weizmann workers "constitutes inappropriate interference in academic freedom, and infringes on lawyer-client relationships and on the workers' right to organize."

  • Daily Press Review

Pirates 'put down hostage revolt'
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

DR Congo peace talks start in Kenya
CongoPlanet.com, Independent online news aggregator

Free & Fair Election - EU, C'wealth,
GhanaWeb, Online news portal, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Landmark nuke initiative
iafrica, Online news portal, Cape Town, South Africa

Motlanthe decides on arms deal inquiry
Independent Online, News portal, Cape Town, South Africa

World Bank: Developing economies to slow sharply
Mail & Guardian Online, Liberal, Johannesburg, South Africa

41 by-elections across SA
News24.com, Online news portal, Cape Town, South Africa

Mysterious Mexican pyramid may have been built by newfound ancient culture
Brazil Sun, Independent online news aggregator

Canucks tame Predators
The Globe and Mail, Centrist daily, Toronto, Canada

Number of elections abstainers may increase: NGO
Antara News, News agency, Jakarta, Indonesia

India asks UN, int'l community to ban Jamaat-ud-Dawa
India Express, News portal, Mumbai, India

40% of Delhi MLAs aren't graduates
India Times, Conservative daily, New Delhi, India

Health net for children
Japan Times, Independent centrist, Tokyo, Japan

Nationwide airport security to be beefed up next year
Malaysian Star, Online news portal, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia

Aussie who survived Arctic Circle crash lost all hope of rescue
New Zealand Herald, Conservative daily, Auckland, New Zealand

UN calls for renewal of global solidarity against terrorist acts
People's Daily Online, English-language, Beijing, China

Idol let in stalker 'for entertainment value'
Sydney Morning Herald, Centrist daily, Sydney, Australia

Restrictions put on Masood Azhar
The Hindu, Left-leaning daily, Chennai, India

Iraq withdrawal 'begins in March'
BBC News, Centrist newscaster, London, England

As riots continue, Greece faces political crisis
International Herald Tribune, Independent daily, Paris, France

Out by June: UK plans Iraq withdrawal
The Guardian, Liberal daily, London, England

Coroner calls for improvements to RAF Pumas following deaths in Iraq
The Telegraph, Conservative daily, London, England

Spy in the sky: what you can and cannot see
Times Online, Conservative daily, London, England

World's Lowest Town to Expand
Arutz Sheva, Online, right-wing, Tel Aviv, Israel

Lebanese man gets life sentence in German bomb plot
Asharq Al-Awsat, Pan-Arab daily, London, England

Illinois governor arrested on corruption charges
Gulf News, Independent daily, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

EGYPT: Many Oppose Jewish Festival
IPS Middle East, International cooperative of journalists, Rome, Italy

Jordan- Raya lays foundation stone for Aqaba project
Middle East North African Network, Online financial portal, Amman, Jordan

Deal Reached in Principle on $15 Billion U.S. Auto Bailout
Nahamet, Online news portal, Beirut, Lebanon

'Ashamed' Olmert condemns 'pogrom' against Palestinians
The Daily Star, Independent daily, Beirut, Lebanon

Yemen: Fear of failure
Yemen Times, Independent weekly, Sana'a, Yemen

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