We are very pleased to welcome Harald Hauge and Jarle Schelander to Wikborg Rein. They both started this week as a partner and Specialist Counsel, respectively, in our tax department.
It is with great pleasure that we can announce that once again we have been top-ranked in the annual Chambers Global ranking, strengthening our position as Norway's most international law firm.
All companies face the risk of cyber-attacks. In general, the question is when and not if an attack will strike. Companies should therefore strengthen their cyber resilience and implement robust measures to be prepared to handle all aspects of an attack if/when it occurs.
The past few years have illustrated with a vast intensity the relevance of international sanctions for an ever expanding number of businesses and sectors. This backdrop has also led to a significant increase in sanctions related disputes, which in turn has led to discussions regarding enforcement of arbitral awards that contravene applicable sanctions.
This was a question many asked after a recent judgment from the English Court of Appeal. Sanctions target those designated as well as those owned or controlled by designated persons. Understanding the precise scope of what constitutes ‘control’ under UK sanctions can be challenging. In this article we shed some light on this analysis, based on recent case law.
The Crackdown on Price Cap Evasion and the BIMCO Russian Oil Price Cap Scheme Clause for Charter Parties
The BIMCO Russian Oil Price Cap Scheme Clause was long-anticipated when it was published on 2 June 2023. There has since been growing concern that the original Price Cap Measures were easy to circumvent, and in this article we examine the impact of the latest measures to combat such evasion.
Shielding consumers from greenwashing and misleading environmental claims constitutes an important aspect of the European Union’s strategy to cultivate a more environmentally sustainable economy. A European Commission study in 2020 revealed that more than 50% of environmental claims within the EU were unclear or misleading, with 40% lacking substantiation.
The UK Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act 2023 (“the ECCTA”) was formally approved on 26 October 2023. Among the most significant reforms introduced by the ECCTA are the establishment of ‘failure to prevent fraud’ as a new UK corporate criminal offence, and a reform of the UK identification doctrine expanding the extent of corporate criminal liability for economic crimes. In this article, we highlight the details of these two key aspects of the Act, and explain how they will affect Norwegian companies with operations or subsidiaries in the UK.
The EU’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) Act marks a global first, introducing rules for the use and provision of AI systems. At the heart is a commitment to fostering trust in AI to unlock and maximise the vast social and economic possibilities offered by these technologies.
China has amended its criminal law for the 12th time with effect from 1 March 2024 by increasing penalties and adding employees of private companies to some bribery and corruption offences that currently only apply to employees of state-owned enterprises.
On February 15th, we open the doors for the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Day 2024 in Oslo- with speakers including American sanction authorities (OFAC), American export control authorities (BIS), and the EU Commission.
WR ESG Alert: Key decisions by Norwegian and French courts relating to the environment and crimes against humanity
In this month's ESG alert, we describe the recent decision by France's highest court which paves the way for charges to be brought against Lafarge for complicity in crimes against humanity and a decision by Oslo District Court which invalidates three Norwegian oil and gas field permits on environmental grounds.
WR Asset Management: Choice of fund structure – Norwegian limited company, limited partnership or foreign fund vehicle?
What type of fund structure should a Norwegian fund manager choose when establishing a new alternative investment fund? This depends, among other factors, on what the fund will invest in, the target investors, the required flexibility for capital contributions and distributions from the fund, the need for confidentiality, etc.
Norwegian media has recently published a number of stories on the alleged poor working conditions at Turkish shipyards. Norwegian shipowners contracting with foreign yards must be prepared to provide information on their efforts to ensure decent working conditions pursuant to the Norwegian Transparency Act.
On 31 January 2024 the EU Commission published their anticipated list showing which shipping companies shall be associated with the different administering authorities of the member states under the EU ETS.
The EU Council established a new sanctions framework targeting Guatemala. A new framework is also established by the EU for imposing restrictive measures against those who support, facilitate or enable violent actions by Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
Our partner Kaare Andreas Shetelig has together with Atle Skaldebø-Rød published an article about challenge of arbitral awards.
In a significant move within the LNG maritime sector, Wikborg Rein expertly guides Greek shipowner client Dynagas through its sale to Energos Infrastructure of two state-of-the-art Floating Storage and Regasification Units (FSRUs), Transgas Force and Transgas Power.
WR ESG Alert: EU agreement on the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive and updates to and expansion of a range of environmental obligations
In this month's ESG alert, we highlight that political agreement has been reached at EU level with respect to the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive, the Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation as well as new rules to strengthen the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive. We also describe an expanded scope for sustainability disclosure obligations following a report by the European Supervisory Authorities and revisions to the Norwegian Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading Act.
On 14 December 2023, the European Parliament and the European Council informally agreed on a new directive on corporate sustainability due diligence (the "CS3D" or the "directive") obliging firms to integrate their human rights and environmental impact into their management systems. The directive has been called a historic breakthrough in the way companies are now responsible for potential abuse in their value chain. Subsequent to the negotiations, the Lead MEP said that this was a starting point for shaping the economy of the future.
In 2023, Kaare Andreas Shetelig and Ola Nisja, together with civil procedure expert Christian Reusch, have revised their book Ærede rett! Kræsjkurs i sakførsel (Your honour! Crash course in litigation).
The long-awaited 12th package of sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine was announced yesterday afternoon on the 18th of December. As expected, the package includes restrictions on additional goods of Russian origin, including diamonds, measures to strengthen the price cap on Russian oil and a significant amount of new designated individuals and entities.
New and extended gender quota regulations to the board of directors of Norwegian private limited liability companies are adopted. Until now, gender quota regulations have applied only for listed public limited liability companies and state owned companies. The newly adopted regulation, which shall also apply to inter alia certain partnerships, co-operatives and foundations, significantly broadens the scope of gender quota mandates.
On Friday 8 December, after 36 hours of trialogue negotiations, the European institutions finally reached agreement on the AI Act. A joint press conference was held on 9 December where the two lead MEPs, the Secretary of State for digitalisation and artificial intelligence, and the EU Commissioner in charge presented the key elements of the agreement.
Protection of private parties’ interests in investigations by the Norwegian Safety Investigation Authority
The Norwegian Safety Investigation Authority is tasked with conducting safety investigations into maritime accidents if they either involve Norwegian flagged ships, take place in Norwegian waters or involve significant Norwegian interests. Its reports may be important evidence in civil and criminal proceedings arising out of the casualty. The ability of private parties to protect their interests in respect of civil claims and criminal liability may therefore depend on the extent to which their interests are protected in connection with the investigation.
The Court of Appeal in London has given further guidance on charterers’ ability to limit liability following the High Court decision in the MSC Flaminia (No. 2) reported in our December 2022 edition, giving some important clarification to the types of limitation claims charterers can make.
The FuelEU Maritime Regulation introduces a voluntary pooling mechanism. If shipping companies choose to use the pooling mechanism, they may effectively use the over-performance of one ship to compensate for the under-performance of another ship. This could present new commercial opportunities for shipping companies.
With the recent accessions by Liberia and Bangladesh, the Hong Kong Convention on ship recycling, which was adopted in 2009, will finally enter into force on 26 June 2025. On 30 November 2023 there was a further breakthrough by Pakistan’s accession, which means that all major recycling states have now committed to the Convention. What will be the practical implications? How will the Convention mesh with the existing regulations?
In arbitration, you have to prove your case even if the opponent does not show up. The no-show creates some pitfalls to avoid.
On 11 October 2023 BIMCO adopted the Ship Sales Further Trading Clause 2023, which is designed to be included in memoranda of agreement for the sale and purchase of vessels, such as BIMCO’s Saleform and Shipsale standard form contracts. The clause is intended to provide protection for the seller against the buyer’s subsequent disposal of the vessel in contravention of any regulations related to ship recycling. It seeks to achieve this by imposing an obligation on the buyer to continue to trade the vessel within an agreed post-sale period. The clause is particularly relevant for the sale of older tonnage.
Trademark registration plays a vital role in securing trademark protection in China. Over 7 million trademark applications were submitted for registration in China in 2022 according to an official report from China's Trademark Office ("CTMO"). As of the end of 2022, the total number of registered trademarks in China exceeded 42 million.
We are thankful for the opportunity to assist Summa Equity in connection with Summa Fund I's and other existing shareholders' sale of NG to Summa Circular, a continuation vehicle managed by Summa Equity.
The proposal for regulating artificial intelligence by the European Commission marks a global first, introducing a comprehensive legal structure in this domain. This Act targets both AI system providers and users, emphasising significant penalties for non-compliance — potentially up to 40 million Euros or 7% of the total annual turnover. This underscores the importance of adherence to these regulations. At the heart of the Act is a commitment to fostering trust in artificial intelligence, a cornerstone deemed essential for unlocking and maximising the vast social and economic possibilities offered by AI technologies
This week, the Investment Control Commission – appointed by the Norwegian government in 2022 – delivered its report concerning Norway's foreign direct investment laws. The report proposes significant changes to the current system, ostensibly in order to protect national security interests, and would bring Norway's rules on FDI more in line with some of its European neighbours.
WR ESG Alert: New climate lawsuit against the Norwegian government and expansion of the EU Emissions Trading System
In this month's ESG alert, we highlight that shipping activities have been incorporated into the EU Emissions Trading System, and that provisional agreement has been reached at EU level with respect to the Critical Raw Materials Act, the EU Nature Restoration Law and an EU Regulation to reduce energy sector methane emissions. We also report on the latest climate lawsuit against the Norwegian government.
The inclusion of the shipping industry in the EU Emission Trading System as per Directive 2003/87/EC ("the EU ETS") from 1 January 2024 is now fast approaching. According to Article 3 in the said directive, it is the "shipping company" that is responsible for compliance with the EU ETS-obligations, hereunder to surrender emission allowances.
We are proud to announce that we are assisting Ferd in its tender offer with Tjaldur to acquire all remaining shares in Mintra (Euronext Growth: "MNTR"). The offer implies a market capitalisation of Mintra of NOK ~783.5 million.
We have assisted DIF Capital Partners (via its DIF Infrastructure VII Fund) and EDF Invest (the investment arm of the EDF Group in real assets) with entering into a definitive agreement to acquire Fjord1, the largest owner and operator of ferries in Norway. Subject to closing of the transaction, Fjord1 will be acquired from Vision Ridge Partners and Havila Holding. Vision Ridge and Havila Holding have been investors in Fjord1 since 2019 and 2011, respectively.
WR ESG Alert: Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism enters transitional phase, EU taxonomy news, proposed increase in fines for violations of the Working Environment Act
In this month's ESG alert, we highlight that the EU's Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism has entered its transitional phase, we note the publication of various recommendations and reports calling for a more environmentally sustainable future and update on public consultations on proposed legislative amendments to the Working Environment Act and the Lawyers Act. We also provide an update on the EU taxonomy and mention Europol's Financial and Economic Crime Threat Assessment.
Collaborative report on use of sanctions as a human rights instrument and effectiveness of sanctions against Russia
A report published on 26 October 2023 outlines the increasing use of sanctions as a tool for protecting human rights, while highlighting the gaps in enforcement of sanctions against Russia, with a focus primarily on Europe. The report is a collaborative product by the Norwegian Helsinki Committee and risk analysis company Corisk, with contributions from Wikborg Rein and consultancy agency Rud Pedersen.
EU recent developments – new sanctions framework for Niger, preparation for EU’s 12th package of sanctions targeting Russia
In this Sanctions Alert, we provide an update on the following recent developments in the EU:
On 18 October 2023, OFAC issued three new general licenses and amended three existing general licenses related to Venezuela in response to the signing of an electoral roadmap agreement between the Venezuela Unitary Platform and the Maduro regime. These actions by the US introduces, among other things, a sanctions relief for the Venezuelan oil and gas sector and gold sector in support of the Venezuelan people. OFAC also published related FAQs.
In this article, we summarise the following recent developments relating to UK sanctions:
On 9 October 2023, the Council of the European Union adopted a new sanctions framework to impose sanctions against those undermining the stability and political transition of Sudan.