Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Payment Services Directive adopted

Two days ago the Council of the EU adopted the new Payment Services Directive. See the press release:

The Council adopted a directive establishing a legal framework for payment services, aimed at facilitating and reducing the cost of payments throughout the European Union (3613/07). The directive is adopted in first reading, under the codecision procedure involving both the European Parliament and the Council. The directive, amending directives 97/7/EC, 2000/12/EC and 2002/65/EC, provides for:

– enhanced competition by opening markets to all appropriate payment service providers.

– harmonised market access requirements for non-bank payment service providers, "payment institutions", ensuring a level playing field and at the same time encouraging innovation.

– introduction of a clear and simple set of harmonised information requirements for both providers and users, increasing market transparency.

As noted earlier (here) the Commission believes that the new Directive could save the EU economy upwards of €28 billion per year. Let’s hope it will… .

Saturday, 13 October 2007

How to run a law school…

The foundation of UC-Irvine Law School has stimulated an interesting debate in US blogs how this new law school - and law schools in general - should be run. The diverse suggestions are collected here.

From a European perspective the most important difference is presumably that in Europe there is usually a compulsory 1-3 year legal traineeship after university education (for a comparative overview see here - in German). In my view this is indeed reasonable in order not to overburden university education. Apart from that, of course, we can learn a lot from American law schools, for instance, on the more frequent “scientific approach” to legal thinking (as summarised here).

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Fads and fashions in good corporate governance

For many years law makers (and companies) were told that the “one share one vote principle” is one of the cornerstones of corporate governance. Now, the EU has made a surprising u-turn. According to the Financial Times

Plans to force companies to give all shareholders an equal say in the running of companies were dropped on Wednesday by the European Commission. Charlie McCreevy, the internal market commissioner, said that since he could not make an economic case for “one share, one vote” he was abandoning his two-year campaign, which had faced fierce opposition. “I do not intend to propose any action on one share, one vote,” he told the European parliament, in a reversal that caught many by surprise. He had been facing an uphill struggle since May when his department published a study that said voting structures did not affect company profits [which was also noted here].. “There is no economic evidence of a causal link between deviations from the so-called ‘proportionality principle’ and the economic performance of companies,” he said on Wednesday.