1 October: new laws commercial lawyers need to know about

So what is the big deal about 1 October?

85 days until Christmas?

Perhaps.

But for most commercial lawyers and businesspeople, it is the date when a flurry of new laws come into force.

Here’s the ones that they should be looking out for this year in particular:

Bribery and Corruption:

Fraud, bribery and money laundering offences sentencing guideline:

The Sentencing Council published the definitive guideline on fraud, bribery and money laundering offences on 23 May. This guideline comes into effect on 1 October and applies to all offenders aged 18 and older and to organisations who are sentenced on or after 1 October.

Consumer credit:

Consumer credit: Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) starts to consider applications for full authorisation:

The FCA will start considering applications for full authorisation from those firms with interim permission. The FCA states that the authorisation application periods will last for three months and run from 1 October to 31 March 2016. The FCA is inviting firms in the credit markets causing most consumer harm (such as high-cost short term credit lenders, logbook lenders and debt management firms) to apply for authorisation before any other firms. A summary of the requirements that come into effect when a firm obtains authorisation is set out in Table 1.4 of FCA Policy Statement PS14/3 (at page 14).

Consumer credit: reporting regime starts:

For those firms which are fully authorised the six-monthly or annual reporting regime starts (although not for those firms who only have interim permission).

Consumer credit: transitional period for rules in CONC ends:

For all firms generally  the transitional period for the conduct rules set out in the Consumer Credit sourcebook of the FCA Handbook of Rules and Guidance (CONC) ends.

Consumer credit: new rules for peer-to-peer lenders:

New rules come into force for peer-to-peer lenders (such as requirements on adequate explanations and creditworthiness)

Consumer credit: not-for-profit debt advice bodies with limited permission: transitional period ends:

For grandfathered not-for-profit debt advice bodies the transitional period for detailed client money rules ends

Consumer credit: High-cost short-term credit and home-collected credit:

Once authorised, product sales data (PSD) reporting requirements start

Consumer protection:

The Video Recordings Act 1984 (Exempted Video Works) Regulations 2014:

Music, sports, religion and education products (previously exempt from this requirement) will have to be classified by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) from 1 October if they contain material unsuitable for younger children. For details, check out the relevant BBFC webpage.

Consumer Protection (Amendment) Regulations 2014:

The Consumer Protection (Amendment) Regulations 2014 will come into force on 1 October and are aimed at providing clearer and simpler routes to redress for consumers who become victims of misleading and aggressive selling contrary to the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPUTs). The new regulations, which will apply to contracts entered on or after 1 October, introduce a private right of redress for consumers who have been victims of misleading or aggressive practices; standard remedies for victims of misleading or aggressive practices and entitlement to seek damages. Consumers will have certain rights under the regulations: to unwind from the contract, seek a discount on the price paid and/or seek damages for detriment caused, depending on type of misleading or aggressive practice they have been subjected to.

Check out our previous posts on the new Regulations:

And our interview with Hannah Roberts and Craig Chaplin of DWF: Three things that you need to know about the Consumer Protection (Amendment) Regulations.

It might also be a good time to check out your refund policy to ensure that it complies with the new law: Why now is the time to look at your refund policy.

Corporate:

UK Corporate Governance Code:

On 17 September, the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) issued an updated version of the UK Corporate Governance Code (the Code). The FRC states that the changes ‘significantly [enhance] the quality of information investors receive about the long-term health and strategy of listed companies, and [raise] the bar for risk management.’ The key changes to the Code cover three main areas:

  • Going concern, risk management and internal control
  • Remuneration, and
  • Shareholder engagement

Gambling:

Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014:

The Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014 received Royal Assent on 14 May and will come into force on 1  October. The regulatory changes under the Act are designed to ensure consistent regulation of all remote gambling operators offering services to British consumers. For the first time, all gambling operators providing facilities or advertising for remote gambling to customers in Great Britain will be required to hold a remote operating licence issued by the Gambling Commission, regardless of the location of the operator or its remote gambling equipment. Under additional provisions coming into force on 30 January 2015, licensed operators will be required to source gambling software from a provider that holds a Gambling Commission software licence. The Gambling Commission has issued FAQs on the Act.

Intellectual property:

Intellectual Property Act 2014: The Intellectual Property Act 2014 received Royal Assent on 14 May. The Act includes measures that will help clarify and modernise the intellectual property framework and simplify and improve design protection. The three major changes to design protection are:

  • The owner of a commissioned design will now be the designer and not the commissioner (unless a contract states otherwise)
  • Where someone uses a design in good faith which is then registered by another person, there will be some protection from infringement action, and
  • The intentional copying of a registered design will be a criminal offence.

For details of this (and changes to patent law) check out this webpage from the Intellectual Property Office (IPO).

Others:

These changes may also be of interest:

As always, if you have any thoughts on the above, please us know below:

Area of Interest