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Samoa: Controversial Constitutional Reforms Passed

(Jan. 13, 2021) On December 15, 2020, the Parliament of Samoa voted to pass three bills that “fundamentally alter the country’s constitution and judicial system.” The three bills – the Constitution Amendment Bill 2020, Land and Titles Bill 2020, and Judicature Bill 2020 – were introduced in March 2020 and passed with a vote of […]

European Union: European Court of Justice Upholds Flemish Requirement to Stun Animals Before Slaughter

(Dec. 31, 2020) On December 17, 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that a decree requiring that animals undergo a reversible (temporary) stunning procedure before slaughter is not an illegal infringement of freedom of religion as guaranteed by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. At issue was a […]

Russian Federation: Newly Adopted Amendments to Insolvency Law Allow Some Citizens to Go Through Bankruptcy but Avoid Court Proceedings

(Nov. 25, 2020) On September 1, 2020, Federal Law No. 289-FZ on Amendments to the Federal Law on Bankruptcy entered into force. This law, which was signed by President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin on July 31, 2020, allows some categories of Russian citizens to declare bankruptcy while avoiding court proceedings and without paying […]

Algeria: National Bank Officially Launches Islamic Banking

(Nov. 23, 2020) On August 4, 2020, Algeria’s National Bank officially launched Islamic banking as the first state-owned bank to practice Islamic banking services in Algeria. The launching of Islamic banking on the level of state-owned banks is in accordance with the government’s efforts to establish a more effective and diversified national financial market. The […]

Australia: Bill Recognizing Indigenous Adoption Practices Passed in Queensland

(Sept. 15, 2020) On September 8, 2020, the Queensland Parliament passed the Meriba Omasker Kaziw Kazipa (Torres Strait Islander Traditional Child Rearing Practice) Act 2020, which legally recognizes for the first time in Australia the child adoption practices of Torres Strait Islanders, the indigenous people of the Torres Strait Islands in Queensland. “Meriba Omasker Kaziw Kazipa” […]

United States: Appeals Court Rules Shareholders Not Eligible to Bring Claim under Alien Tort Act When Claim Involves Breach of Fiduciary Duty

(Sept. 14, 2020) The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit recently reversed a lower court’s decision to allow an amended complaint in a derivative lawsuit (one allowing shareholders to sue the managers of their company) brought by plaintiff shareholders of Lebanese Canadian Bank (LCB) to support a cause of action (giving a party […]

Saudi Arabia: Flogging and Death Abolished as Ta‘zeer Penalties

(Aug. 3, 2020) On July 15, 2020, the director of the Human Rights Commission of Saudi Arabia, Awwad bin Saleh, announced that the commission is planning to launch a number of initiatives to highlight the kingdom’s reforms in the field of human rights. Those reforms include abolishing flogging and capital punishment for minors as ta‘zeer […]

Sudan: New Law Amending Penal Code Takes Effect

(July 23, 2020) On July 13, 2020, the Sudanese Official Gazette published Law No. 12 of 2020, which amends 15 provisions of the Penal Code of 1991. According to Justice Minister Nasredeen Abdulbari, the new provisions are part of Sudan’s efforts to eliminate all laws that violate human rights and “demolish any kind of discrimination […]

Malaysia: Federal Court Holds that Illegitimate Muslim Child Cannot Use Father’s Last Name

(Mar. 6, 2020) On February 13, 2020, Malaysia’s Star news media outlet reported that the Federal Court of Malaysia (Malaysia’s highest court) had held, by a 4-3 majority, that the National Registration Department (NRD) cannot register the father’s last name for a Muslim child who was born or conceived out of wedlock. It also held, however, […]