Patrick Bracher

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Lawyer vs artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) software has beaten a group of lawyers from top international firms in an insurance claim accuracy test. A group of students from the University of Cambridge founded an AI start-up that builds systems that predict legal decisions. These systems were recently pitted against more than 100 partners and associates from major corporate … Continue reading

Limited right to challenge arbitrator’s decision (UK)

The losing party before an arbitration tribunal cannot challenge the decision of the tribunal based on an alleged failure to deal with the evidence properly unless in exceptional cases the tribunal genuinely overlooked evidence that really mattered, or got the wrong end of the stick in misunderstanding really important evidence. The arbitrator’s role is to … Continue reading

Artificial intelligence routed to gain juristic personality (Estonia)

Estonia may become the first country in the world to grant artificial intelligence (AI) some form of juristic personality, giving robots personal rights and responsibilities. This northern Baltic country’s Economy Ministry is currently working on legislation to elevate the status of robots using AI to more than that of an object. It is still unclear … Continue reading

Policy requirement to comply with statutory or regulatory standards requires reasonable care not absolute compliance

An Australian court has interpreted the obligation in a business liability policy to ‘comply with legislation and Australian Standards’ coupled with a general condition requiring the insured to ‘take reasonable care to avoid causing harm’ as requiring reasonableness and not absolute compliance. Not every minor breach of regulations can be regarded as an infringement of … Continue reading

Legal standing of voluntary association acting in the public interest on rights issues

Section 38(d) of the Constitution allows anyone acting in the public interest to approach a court alleging that a right in the Bill of Rights has been infringed or threatened. The issue is always whether a person or organisation acts genuinely in the public interest. The court will take into account considerations such as whether there … Continue reading

Municipality’s right to reclaim undeveloped property prescribes after three years

The appellant municipality sold vacant immovable property to the respondent company subject to the condition that if buildings of a certain value were not erected on the property within three years from the date of sale, ownership of the property reverted to the municipality which could demand retransfer. It was held that because the municipality … Continue reading

Proceedings before enforcement committee under Security Services Act apply civil standard of proof

The appellants in Pather v Financial Services Board failed in the suggestion that claims against it of contravention of the Security Services Act 2004 should have been proved by the enforcement committee according to the criminal standard, namely beyond reasonable doubt. The court held that the civil standard applies and that the proceedings and penalty … Continue reading

Sitting is not an ‘accident’ (US)

In a curious case the Michigan US Appeals Court found that merely sitting for a long period of time which allegedly led to a truck driver dying of a pulmonary embolism while sitting in the cab of his truck at a truck stop was not bodily injury caused by an occupational accident. Medical evidence said … Continue reading

UK companies should continuously identify and engage with key stakeholders

A list of core principles were recently published in the UK to guide the board of directors of a company to allow for greater involvement of stakeholders, other than shareholders, in decision-making. These stakeholders would include employees, suppliers, customers, the community, and the environment. Two UK governance institutes, with the support of the UK government, … Continue reading

Engineer’s fees are not ‘performed labour’ under a construction guarantee (US)

When an engineering company sought to recover under a contractors bond (construction guarantee) for unpaid fees for engineering services rendered, a court held that a bond which provided protection for entities that have ‘performed labour or furnished materials in the prosecution of the work’ did not include the engineer’s professional engineering services which were not … Continue reading

FAIS debarment does not entitle dishonest representative to damages

A financial services provider debarred an employee and representative (who had taken up other employment whilst still employed and lied about it) without giving the representative notice and a fair hearing in terms of the Promotion of Administration Justice Act (PAJA) before doing so. The representative sued for damages for lost income based on this … Continue reading

Two year insurance time-bar upheld (US)

A Delaware court upheld a two year time-bar in relation to a property damage insurance claim arising from Superstorm Sandy because the action was instituted more than two years after the 2012 event and after coverage was denied by the insurer in 2013. The limitations clause provided that ‘no suit, action or proceeding for the … Continue reading

Aggregation of claims for related transactions

Where a policy aggregated claims for ‘similar acts or omissions in a series of related matters or transactions’ the enquiry was whether there was a real connection between the transactions in which they occurred. The use of the word ‘related’ implies there must be some interconnection between the matters or transactions so that they in … Continue reading

Insurance exclusion for ‘that particular part’ on which ‘performing operations’ (US)

The insured subcontracted a builder to build 53 prefabricated modular units for its residential blindness rehabilitation facility. The insurer denied an indemnity for water damage under a partly completed roof saying that the applicable exclusion barred coverage for ‘that particular part’ of property on which the policyholder or its subcontractors ‘are performing operations’. The units … Continue reading

Major shift in US attitude to insider trading

It is likely that insider trading in the US will in future include the situation where the information is disclosed with the expectation that the recipient would trade on it and the disclosure resembles trading by the insider, resulting in the gift of the profits to the recipient. In United States v Martoma the insider … Continue reading

US court upholds Lloyd’s flood exclusion

A US court of appeals upheld the exclusion in a policy issued by Lloyd’s Underwriters for losses ‘caused directly or indirectly by flood’ in relation to a claim where a river basin marina lost five of its docks in a storm which generated strong winds and 18cm of rain causing the river to rise about … Continue reading