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Today's news that a prosecution has collapsed and a jury discharged without even considering the evidence because of the lack of credibility of a witness put up as an expert might not be big news - if it wasn't for the fact that the witness is Andrew Ager, a sticky character, a self-described Subject Matter Expert, that the Crown Prosecution Service used as their go-to-guy for anything to do with carbon credits and, sometimes, frauds in other areas, too. Even more startling is the witness' attempts to pervert the course of justice. The CPS is, once more, the subject of much head-shaking for being rubbish. But culpable as they are, the CPS is not the only one against which accusations of ineptitude should be levelled.

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A temporary permissions regime was put in place in January after the House of Commons rejected the May/EU deal. Exit day may have been postponed for a short time but increasingly there is a possibility that contingency plans must be made. Time is running out to act under the regime, unless the FCA chooses to extend it. The deadline is, as of now, 28th March 2019.

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Here's a good argument in favour of leaving the EU: last night the UK's House of Commons voted against leaving the European Union without a deal in place to ensure an orderly exit. But, they are impotent : whether the UK leaves on 29th March without a negotiated "divorce," is governed by the Lisbon Treaty. And the Lisbon Treaty is superior to British law and, even, the British Parliament.

As we noted yesterday, this newspaper's review of the so-called binding agreement reached with the EU, did not actually prevent the feared lock-in that Leavers want to ensure does not happen. The Attorney-General agreed and when his view was put before Parliament, MPs voted down the supposedly revised deal. Again. That leaves Mrs May to follow Plan X.

Today is a big day in the UK's parliament. It's a re-run of the so-called "meaningful vote" and it's pretty much the last chance for the UK to avoid leaving the EU without an exit strategy a.k.a. deal although there are plans X,Y and maybe Z to avoid that happening, at least one of which will rely on the co-operation of the EU - or might not, depending on how one views a particular part of the Lisbon Convention.

How would you feel if your company was fined GBP200,000 and ordered to pay costs of more than GBP17,000 for health and safety issues even though no-one was hurt? Ask Renault.

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The UK's Department for Work and Pensions has announced that those who receive disability benefit will be relieved of the burden of frequent re-assessment once they reach retirement age. That's good news. Almost.

The UK and the USA have decided to revoke the citizenship of two women who went to the middle east to join a terrorist organisation. These are headline grabbing moves and the media is happy to co-operate because they are women and young. But they are a tiny fraction of an enormous global problem.

Case Summary: 

An international conspiracy to bribe officials of a government in connection with a substantial contract has resulted in the conviction of a company and several senior staff and officers.

Type of conduct: 
Corruption

There is no fixed deadline for a deal to be done but there is, in principle, a date upon which the UK will no longer be part of the EU. That date, however, is not actually as fixed as it might appear and there is authority for saying that the UK could press reset and start the whole negotiation period afresh when the UK and the EU have got their acts together.

We have considered what a "soft brexit" means (here) and in this article, we look at a "hard brexit" also known as a "no deal brexit."

This week, some Conservative Party MPs delivered, in sufficient number, a letter to the party's managing committee, the 1922 Committee. It expressed that they had no confidence in the Prime Minister and that the party should replace her. The timing, many have said, was a mistake, that those seeking her removal, should have waited until after the Brexit vote and attack her then, if she lost. That, it is here opined, would have defeated the purpose of this week's supposed rebellion.

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It would be far more sensible if the UK scrapped its money laundering laws, wrote something comprehensible and properly structured and kept it all in one place. But no, that would make life far too simple. So, we have the latest Act that has to be read in the light of, and which makes amendments to, other legislation. But it's important and so no one can simply say "stuff it" and delete it. As it comes into force, there is a hint as to at least some of the priorities in relation to international financial crime.

This is not about money laundering. It's about how the UK is de-EU-ing law and regulation ready for "exit day." The UK's draft statutory instrument called "The Money Laundering and Transfer of Funds (Information) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018" is an object lesson in technical documentation. It has no life of its own and can only be read alongside other UK law and Regulations. It is of extraordinary importance not because of what it does but because of what it demonstrates. This is an indication of the clerical complexity of withdrawing from the EU even when the principles, as they will in relation to the Money Laundering Directives, will remain as now.

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No-deal Brexit would hit south-eastern European economies hardest among EBRD regions, says the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in a surprising counter-point to the position espoused by the EU generally .

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