Egypt’s Suez Canal Authority has announced it has launched an inquiry into the grounding of the Ever Given cargo ship. The inquiry will examine events before, during and after the accident. It will consider whether the ship’s captain responded to the Authority’s instructions before it ran aground. The Authority has requested the ship’s black box. The Authority added they expect to finalise a compensation agreement with the ship in three or four days. If the ship rejects the investigation findings, the case will be transferred to a civil court and the vessel will be seized. The inquiry’s findings will be made public.
The Head of Egypt’s Suez Canal Authority has announced the authorities are considering giving compensation to ships affected by the Suez Canal blockage. It follows the running aground of the container ship Ever Given which is operated by Evergreen. Rescue units are continuing to try and refloat the ship which was sailing from China to Rotterdam. Authorities are blaming strong winds for the incident.
Egypt’s House of Representatives has approved a draft law amending Egypt Law No. 34/1976 (the Commercial Registry Law). If approved, Article 3 of Egypt Law No. 34/1976 will be amended. It will state anyone who is registered in the commercial registry must be an Egyptian national and be approved to practice a trade from the competent Chamber of Commerce for individuals and companies established to practice a commercial activity, or have obtained approval to practice industrial activity from the competent Chamber of Industry for companies established to practice industrial activities.
Egypt’s House of Representatives has approved amendments to the country’s Intellectual Property Law (Egypt Law No. 82/2002). It follows the proposed amendments being referred to a joint Parliamentary Committee on 17 June. The amendments state those under 21 are allowed to record their actions on the works, performances, sound and radio recordings subject to the Law. The relevant registration fee will be 100 Egyptian Pounds instead of 1,000 Pounds. People with special needs and students will be exempt from these fees. The aim is to provide more support to young creators and encourage them to innovate in culture and the arts. The Government are also committed to care for disabled people. The Law will be published in the Official Gazette and will come into force one month after it is published.
Egypt’s Civil Aviation Minister has issued a Decision to establish a supreme committee including representatives from the relevant departments. It will be chaired by the Security Sector Chairman in the Ministry. They will examine and compile an inventory of shipments, storage and containers in the goods village and storage areas in Cairo airport and all airports. The aim is to take all of the necessary measures against dangerous materials.
Egypt’s President has approved the Personal Data Protection Law. Egypt Law No. 151/2020 will promote the security of personal data, which is being processed and stored online. It also sets a legal framework to regulate data transmission with other countries. The draft law was approved by the country’s House of Representatives in February. It prohibits the collecting of or processing individuals’ data or spreading them without the permission of the relevant individuals, except in specific cases. It will apply to Egyptians in the country and expatriates. It will be also enforced on non-Egyptians in and outside Egypt as long as the data belong to Egyptian citizens or foreigners staying inside Egypt. Those who violate the Law will be jailed for up to one year and fined between 100,000 and one million Egyptian Pounds.
A Personal Data Protection Centre will be established and will be responsible for protecting personal data and regulating its availability and processing. A Controller or processor of data will have to inform the Centre of any personal data protection breaches within 72 hours of identifying it. Where the breach affects national security, data controllers and processors must notify the Centre within 24 hours and national security authorities.
They will also be responsible for developing strategic plans, policies and programmes to protect personal data and will have to work with all the relevant Government and non-Government bodies to execute protection measures.
It will consist of representatives from the Justice and Foreign Affairs Ministries, the General Intelligence Service and the Administrative Control Authority. It will have three members who will be chosen by the relevant Minister. In terms of cross-border personal data protection, it is prohibited to carry out transfers, storage, or sharing of personal data which was collected or prepared for processing to a foreign country unless there is a level of protection which is line with the requirements of the law and it will have to be licensed or authorised by the Personal Data Protection Centre.
Egypt’s Prime Minister has promulgated executive regulations for the National Press Authority Law, Egypt Law No. 179/2018. These regulations revoke the second part of the executive regulation of the Institutional Press and Information Regulation, Egypt Law No. 92/2016, and repeal anything which contravenes them. As a result of these developments, the National Press Authority will administer national press institutions, create a comprehensive inventory of all the press and national institutions, and establish a mechanism for monitoring and evaluating economic and other performance indicators for the national press. This Authority will also have a role in dispute settlement, training, pricing, and licensing of new media outlets.
The Chairman of Egypt’s Consumer Protection Authority has announced the Implementing Regulations to the country’s Consumer Protection Law have been published. The Implementing Regulations to Egypt Law No. 181/2018 are contained in Egypt Regulation No. 822/2019. The Regulations emphasise the importance of informing consumers about all basic data on products, which is the consumer’s right to know before purchasing. It covers obligatory provisions by sellers or service providers of an invoice. They also cover the rights of consumers to recover or replace products within 14 days and within 30 days in the event of a product defect.
Egypt’s President has issued a Decree amending the Law regulating the activities of the gas market, promulgated by Egypt Law No. 196/2017. The Decree revokes Article 10(6) of Egypt Law No. 196/2017. It had said the Board of Directors of the Gas Regulatory Authority will adopt a system for monitoring and determining the performance criteria of licensees with respect to gas market activities. The Decree has been published in the Official Gazette.
Weekly Spotlight: The New DIFC Employment Law Introducing Extensive Changes to the Current Law Expected to be Enacted Shortly
A new employment law for the DIFC is expected to be enacted shortly, following a consultation in early 2018 and subsequent amendments made during the course of last year. The DIFC is a financial free zone in Dubai, UAE and is home to many leading financial institutions, law firms and other professional services companies. The DIFC is an independent legal system with its own laws and courts. The current employment law for DIFC companies is DIFC Law No. 4/2005, as amended by DIFC Law No. 3/2012 (DIFC Employment Law) which will be replaced in its entirety by the new law once it is enacted.
The proposed new law introduces quite extensive changes to the DIFC Employment Law. For many of the changes, the intention is to strike a fairer balance between the respective rights of employers and employees than under the current DIFC Employment Law, for example in relation to employee leave entitlements and termination benefits. Other changes are reflective of recent developments and trends in working practices, for example part-time employment and secondment arrangements which are not expressly provided for under the DIFC Employment Law. Certain changes are intended to rectify unintended consequences of the current wording of the DIFC Employment Law, whereas others are being introduced from a compliance and enforcement perspective, including the right for the DIFC Authority to inspect DIFC companies’ premises and records and to impose monetary fines (up to $10,000) for non-compliance.
One of the most important developments is the proposed expansion of the anti-discrimination provisions of the DIFC Employment Law. In particular, under the proposed new law there will be additional protected characteristics and the introduction of various remedies including court declarations, recommendations and most importantly, significant monetary compensation for an employee who has suffered unlawful discrimination. In light of the extensive changes under the proposed new law, DIFC employers should prepare to have their employment contract templates and HR policies reviewed and updated to ensure compliance with the new law. Consideration must also be given to how existing employees’ contracts and benefits will be dealt with in light of the new developments. More broadly, DIFC employers will need to carefully review their policies, procedures and general approach when dealing with HR and employment matters generally (from recruitment and hiring through to the termination of employment) to ensure the company’s legal risks are appropriately managed, particularly in light of the increased scope (and repercussions) for employee discrimination claims under the new law.