Commercial Awareness Update - 23rd November 2018


This year, the Law Society has launched a new Commercial Awareness project. The aim of this project is to foster an understanding and awareness of world affairs within the SOAS Community. We hope to develop an interactive environment for fellow students to learn and discuss ongoing affairs that shape the world today.

We will be achieving this through the events that we will be hosting throughout the year and regular updates that we will be sending out.

As this is a new project, any constructive feedback will be much appreciated.




1) UWO TEST CASE – NCA GETS THE GREEN LIGHT

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The National Crime Agency ("NCA") had issued a UWO against Mrs A on 28 February 2018 requiring her to explain how she afforded two British properties worth £22m.

The NCA has six months to investigate the source of funds used to acquire the items, which were being valued for Hajiyeva’s daughter.

Analysis

UWOs are a new tool to help investigators crack down on the £90bn tide of “dirty money” flooding into London by forcing suspected corrupt government-linked officials to prove their wealth is legitimate. The introduction of UWO’s may have far-reaching ramifications such as the infringement on people’s right to privacy. It is unclear whether this is the beginning of a floodgate UWO era. Nonetheless, it seems that the NCA is eager to crack down on large-scale corruption; debuting with a multi-million-pound case is rightfully befitting.

2) BREXIT DEAL: WHAT’S NEXT?

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Theresa May has a draft divorce deal with the EU that sorts out how and when we leave andgives the outline of what the relationship will be like for decades to come. The PM secured her cabinet's backing for the deal after a five-hour meeting, but Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab has just resigned over it.

She has also faced a backlash from Tory Brexiteers and her Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) backers, amid suggestions of moves to force a no-confidence vote. Labour will announce later whether or not it will back the deal.

Analysis

Amongst many, Leader Jeremy Corbyn said he did not believe the agreement - set out in a 585- page document - was in the national interest. Speaking on Thursday morning, the president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, said he still saw Brexit as a "lose-lose" situation. But he added: "As much as I am sad to see you leave, I will do everything to make this farewell the least painful possible, for you and for us." Mr Tusk also confirmed that "if nothing extraordinary happens", an emergency EU summit will take place on 25 November to "finalise and formalise" the Brexit agreement.

In line with predicted economic instability, the pound and shares in housebuilders and banks have fallen sharply after cabinet ministers Dominic Raab and Esther McVey quit over Prime Minister Theresa May's draft Brexit deal. The Brexit fiasco has thus far proven to be detrimental to the UK’s economy and financial stability.

3) OIL PRICES TUMBLE BY MORE THAN 4%

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Oil prices tumbled more than 4 per cent on Tuesday to eight-month lows as global producers and traders weighed the prospect of supplies overwhelming demand amid worries about a slowdown in economic growth.

Prices spiraled further lower after Opec’s research arm again reduced its forecast for 2019 oil demand growth in another sign Saudi Arabia and its partners inside and outside the cartel might be forced to curb supplies to bring the market into balance.

Analysis

Productions need to be cut due to oil market oversupply and saturation. Opec said on Tuesday in its monthly market report that world oil demand was forecast to grow 1.29m barrels a day next year, about 70,000 b/d lower than last month’s forecast and down on the 1.45m b/d it forecast in July.

Khalid al-Falih, Saudi Arabia’s energy minister, said on Monday that Opec and its partners outside of the cartel had conducted an analysis that showed that a 1m b/d drop in oil supplies from October levels was required to balance the market.

4) SKILLS SHORTAGE IN THE UK

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Britain’s employers have warned that severe skills shortages are holding back the economy after the latest official figures showed the biggest fall in the number of workers from eastern Europe since modern records began. The British Chambers of Commerce and the Federation of Small Businesses urged the government to deliver a post-Brexit migration system to meet their needs amid signs that the fall in unemployment in recent years was putting upward pressure on wages.

Analysis

In order to avoid a regressing economy, firms who employ a large share of migrant workers need to think now about adjusting to a lower migration environment, in terms of the workers they employ, what they produce and how they operate.

Usama Khalab,

Commercial Awareness Officer