Lyon Declaration

Monday, 15 September 2014

Lyon Declaration on Access to Information and Development. 
The "Lyon Declaration" is calling on members of  the United Nations to "... ensure that everyone has access to, and is able to understand, use and share the information that is necessary to promote sustainable development and democratic societies." 

BIALL as an organisation has now been added to the list of signatories.

Posted by Sally Peat at 14:56 0 comments  

How to Resolve Business Disputes and Turn Them into Opportunities

Thursday, 4 September 2014


Juliet Martin is a freelance writer from Aquarius Trust Group a collective of inter-related companies which together, offer a full range of company management and trust services.

Conflict between a man and a womanAlthough it would seem as though conflict and disputes are inherent to the world of business, they’re actually detrimental to good business practices and impede business success, so seeking resolution is naturally in the best interests of all parties involved.

Apple vs. Samsung – A Fitting Example as to Why Conflict Resolution is Important

The ongoing dispute between Apple and Samsung is a good example of an ongoing conflict/dispute that isn’t doing either party any favours, but instead has soured a relationship that could have been, in many ways, mutually beneficial – it’s an often overlooked fact that Apple spent billions of dollars on Samsung components.

To give you an idea as to why this corporate conflict needs to be resolved, here’s a quick rundown of what’s gone on to date.

Apple issued its one-time ‘trusted partner’ a warning in 2010. After failed meetings throughout that year, Apple sues Samsung in April 2011 and Samsung follows with a countersuit.

Later that year, Apple successfully has Samsung products pulled from shelves in several countries and later in the year Samsung has Apple products banned in Germany, albeit for a few hours only.
From March to May 2012 the two digital giants enter into talks which ultimately fail, and in August Apple wins a $1 billion lawsuit; however, later that year Apple’s patents are called into question, further lawsuits are filed and won or lost and that has continued until the present point in time.

The end result of these disputes and lawsuits? Nothing – neither side has anything concrete to show for the time they’ve lost nor the millions of dollars they’ve spent.

Understanding How Disputes Arise
If you’re to resolve disputes that arise quickly and with as little fuss as possible, it’s fundamentally important to understand how disputes arise.

Generally speaking, disputes arise from differences – ideas, motivations, perceptions, values, etc. – and these differences are often compounded by personal feelings.

For example in the case of Apple vs. Samsung, the differences that arose between the two tech giants were compounded to a great extent by Steve Jobs’s hatred of the Android OS – he once called it a “stolen product” and considered it an iPhone rip-off.

The needs of parties in a business relationship are usually different and at times may be conflicting; however, by recognising the legitimacy of conflicting needs in a business relationship and being open to the idea of examining them in a cooperative mediation environment, there exists an opportunity to work towards a solution and a continuation of the business relationship, one that’s mutually beneficial.

Alternative Dispute Resolution – Aiming for a Win-Win Solution
Small businesses must avoid disputes like that between Apple and Samsung because litigation can, and often does, prove devastating – small businesses simply don’t have the time or the money to dedicate to an ongoing dispute, and as a result, it’s in their best interests to settle disputes independently of the legal system where feasible and aim for a mutually beneficial outcome.

For this and many other reasons it’s important to aim for a win-win solution to the dispute whatever it may be, and although conflicts may arise for which a win-win solution isn’t possible, generally speaking it’s something to aim for that’s to the mutual benefit of both parties involved.

Alternative dispute resolution is an informal process that small businesses embroiled in disputes should consider because alternative dispute resolution offers many outstanding advantages over litigation, and not only avoiding the high costs that characterise seeking a resolution in court, most notably the chance to turn a business dispute into an opportunity.

Instead of involving attorneys looking for a financial settlement that pays their fees, the parties involved in the dispute are directly involved in seeking a resolution to the dispute which leaves the door open to a continuation of the business relationship if both parties feel so inclined.

When a lawsuit is involved and one party sues the other – or in the case of Apple vs. Samsung, one sues and the other countersues – ill will between parties naturally arises as a result, making it difficult to continue the business relationship.

However, by agreeing to talks in a neutral environment mediated by alternative dispute resolution specialists, the parties involved are afforded an excellent opportunity to discuss their differences and work towards a solution that’s agreeable to both.

Working towards a solution in a cooperative environment overseen by a mediator – in the role of facilitator rather than evaluator – empowers the parties involved to discuss their differences, their relationship – including the mutually beneficial aspects of their relationship – and turn a dispute into an opportunity to rectify the relationship that empowers them to continue to do business together in the future.

In the words of John F. Kennedy, “Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.”

Posted by Sally Peat at 10:22 0 comments  

Biall Conference 2015 - Call for Papers out now

Monday, 1 September 2014

The Biall Conference Committee have today launched the Call for Papers for the 2015 Conference.

Deadline for submissions: Friday 3rd October 2014.Event details: Hilton Metropole, Brighton Thursday 11th - Saturday 13th June, 2015.

We look forward to receiving your submissions. Please note this year there are 4 different session types available, from in-depth subject presentations, to workshops, to the more informal, short and punchy sessions.
Informal enquiries can be made to:
Programme Co-ordinator, Tracey Dennis at
or the Chair of the Conference Committee, Gillian Watt at
Examples of previous programmes, speaker biographies and session synopses may assist your thinking.

Abstracts should be submitted by email to and, no later than Friday 3rd October 2014.

With kind regards on behalf of the Conference Committee.

Posted by Sally Peat at 12:57 0 comments  

Surprising Criminal Defence Tactics

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Author Bio: Allison Harrison, is a writer who currently works freelance for Kilcoyne & Company Solicitors, who specialise in criminal law and defending complex crimes and high profile cases for many years. 

Most of us are well aware that the reality of criminal lawsuits is a far cry from the legal affairs portrayed on television and in the movies. Dramatic flourishes, last-minute reversals and surprise witnesses simply do not have a place in the courtrooms of the real world.

A dog judge Image credit: aussiegall, license Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) Image source:, there have been some fairly unusual defence tactics used in criminal cases in recent history. We’re going to outline three of these tactics below. As you’ll see, these brazen claims of innocence are often attached to high-profile (read: wealthy) defendants. 

1. The defendant’s unreliability
This comes up more often in civil suits than in outright criminal cases; however, it still sheds light on an increasingly popular defence tactic. There have been a few prominent examples of this in the US lately, the most famous of which involves de-famed cyclist, Lance Armstrong. Winner of seven Tour de France titles (all of which have since been revoked), Armstrong was sued by his former sponsor, the US Postal Service.

After repeated denials, Armstrong later admitted to doping during his cycling career. The Postal Service’s suit (which was technically filed by a private citizen on the Postal Service’s behalf) claims that Armstrong deceived taxpayers when he accepted sponsorship from a government agency. His defence was quite simple and amounts to saying, “It was obvious that I really was doping, so you never should have believed me when I said I wasn’t.”

Apparently, if you are a bad enough liar, the false claims that you make cannot be held against you—at least in the opinion of some defence attorneys.

2. Gay Panic
This line of defence is rarely effective, but that doesn’t stop defendants from trying it out. It usually comes into play when the defendant is accused of assault or rape, and the victim is a homosexual.
Specifically, the defendant (who is straight) will claim that the victim made some sort of homosexual advances on them. This was so shocking, that it induced a form of hysteria or psychosis—i.e., gay panic. This state of mind is temporary but amounts to a form of insanity. In other words, the defendant wasn’t in a sound state of mind at the time of the crime.

As mentioned, this tactic rarely succeeds. Typically it is used to offset the spectre of hate crime allegations. In this sense, the gay panic defence may be deemed successful, in as much as it could be used to persuade juries or judges that the accused acted out of hysteria rather than cool, calculated hatred.          

3. Too many emails
In a case that has received plenty of press, hedge fund SAC Capital Advisors has been sued for failing to catch two of their portfolio managers who are currently embroiled in an insider trading scandal. In particular, the suit is aimed at founder Steve Cohen, who the prosecution states should have known what sort of shady business his underlings were getting up to.

This case draws its main thrust from Cohen’s email records. The prosecution states that the founder received plenty of suspicious information via email that would have sent up red flags for any reasonable person. In other words, Cohen knew what was going on and chose to do nothing about it.

In his defence, the billionaire’s attorneys state that the hedge fund founder simply receives too many emails to really read them all. They even attached a figure to this line of defence: 11 percent. That’s how many of his emails he usually reads. So, while it’s true that he did receive incriminating emails, his defence team believes his negligence in reading them should get him off the hook.

Many thanks to Allison Harrison, for her contribution.

Posted by Sally Peat at 12:36 0 comments