With the arrival of our new Chambers Director, Dave Scothern in the Summer of 2019, 5SAH reflects on our key articles from 2019. We look at some predictions for the year ahead and the challenges and opportunities that 2020 will bring.

Fairness should be a constant in all legal proceedings. Unfortunately, we all know that fairness can be derailed. Read Maria Scotland's article on a fair hearing, in the context of Family Law. It should serve as a reminder to all practice areas, judges and practitioners what a fair hearing should and shouldn't look like. A theme that should be present in all hearings in 2020 and beyond.

Account Forfeiture and Freezing Orders (AFFO's):
AFFO's have already been making headlines in 2019 notably the NCA’s £190m settlement with Malik Riaz Hussain, and are certain to continue to do so into 2020. Coupled with the mind-set of UK law enforcement shifting away from securing criminal convictions and more towards disrupting and seizing the funds of crime, to use a footballing term they are playing the ball not the man…and appear to be on the winning foot. Read John McNamara's article here setting out why AFFO's are in-vogue and why that is set to continue.

The Cum-Ex Trading scandal:
With the aftershock of the LIBOR scandal slowly settling, Cum-Ex shook the European banks through 2019 and will impact across the UK Financial Services Sector in 2020. If you are interested in understanding more about the deals that were being made and who was involved, read David Stern's in-depth article here on the scandal set to rock 2020.

Private Prosecutions:
With the pressures faced by Public Prosecution authorities, Private Prosecutions are set to continue to make headline news across 2020. Chambers & Partners now have a dedicated practice area to Financial Crime based Private Prosecutions. The attempted prosecution of Boris Johnson in 2019 provides an example of people power trying to push a political/criminal issue through the courts which was ultimately thwarted.  What will we see in 2020...with the roster of leading law firms adding this area to their portfolio increasing, we could see some substantial proceedings? Georgia Beatty's article on our Private Prosecution seminar and download our comprehensive Private Prosecutions handbook, here.

Extradition & Brexit
Headlines are likely to be dominated by changes to legislation around Brexit in the transition period through 2020. This will, of course, impact the legal profession in so many ways and one of the key areas will be Extradition and the European Arrest Warrant.  We have included our Extradition Team article as featured in Chambers & Partners, which presents a review of the practice area by Ben Keith and Louisa Collins.

Crypto-Currency is a fascinating and complex area of law, clashing with even more complex factual scenarios. The courts are grappling with legal uncertainties around the status of Cryptoassets. This looks set to continue, across the commercial, family and criminal courts. Sarah Wood reviewed this topic in September 2019 in her article for Lexis Nexis on Cracking Cryptoassets.

What will 2020 bring?  The themes from 2019 will no doubt dominate the legal landscape. Everyone will be watching just how leaving the EU will impact upon our daily lives with many of the issues argued across the courts. Cross-Jurisdictional proceedings are undoubtedly where we will see the key courtroom challenges, and with a domestic agenda driven by an emboldened political leadership we should expect to see a raft of changes, and perhaps a test of judicial independence. Hold on to your hats!