Latest Legal and Regulatory news update - 31 Jan 2020

Latest Legal and Regulatory news update - 31 Jan 2020

Have a read of our latest Legal and Regulatory news update covering Brexit, Risk and Compliance, Employment and more. 

In this issue:

Brexit

Risk & Compliance

Commercial

Corporate

Information Law & TMT

Employment

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Brexit
Withdrawal Agreement

The European Commission has released an updated set of slides explaining the revised EU–UK Withdrawal Agreement. The updated slides follow previous versions circulated by the European Commission's Task Force. The authors of the slides provide a timeline of key events and cover the main areas of the Withdrawal Agreement, among other things. See: LNB News 21/01/2020 106.

International agreements

The House of Lords European Union Committee (EUC) has published its eighteenth report scrutinising Brexit-related treaties and international agreements. The EUC is scrutinising the ‘rollover’, ahead of Brexit, of international agreements the EU has previously agreed on the UK’s behalf. The latest report considers trade agreements made between the UK and various countries in order to preserve the links established by former EU Association Agreements. It mainly concerns the trade of goods and food products. See: LNB News 22/01/2020 86.

Risk & Compliance
Data protection

Data protection regulators across Europe have hit businesses with fines totalling €114m (US$126m) for mishandling customer information since the bloc’s tough privacy rules came into force in 2018. See News Analysis: EU fines for data breaches reach €114m.

Crime prevention

The International Bar Association (IBA) has reported that a lack of convictions for financial crime and delayed investigations has prompted some to question the UK’s appetite for tackling corruption. For the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), convictions secured by the organisation fell to 53 percent in 2018–19—the lowest level since 2015–16. In addition, a freedom of information request from law firm Fieldfisher revealed that the SFO has ‘secured only seven convictions against five corporates since April 2013’ and that ‘32 of the 43 criminal investigations opened during this period have not reached a conclusion’. See: LNB News 17/01/2020 48.

Cybersecurity

Guidance has been published by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSS) for businesses on making security decisions when selecting the products and services that provide secure communications in the workplace. The guidance includes a set of principles to guide businesses on assessing the security of voice, video and messaging communication services to help risk owners and security professionals ‘achieve the right balance of functionality, security and privacy’. See: LNB News 17/01/2020 47.

Commercial
Contracts

Karl Anders and Nick Lees, partners in Walker Morris’ Litigation & Dispute Resolution Departments, explain what a contractual entitlement to ‘all reasonable costs’ has been interpreted to mean by the High Court in the recently reported case of Alafco Irish Aircraft Leasing Sixteen Ltd v Hong Kong Airlines Ltd. See News Analysis: Contractual costs clauses—What does recovery of ‘all reasonable costs’ really mean? (Alafco v Hong Kong Airlines Ltd).

Andrew Butler QC, barrister, at Tanfield Chambers, London, considers the case of Demand Media Ltd v Koch Media Ltd, in which the court resolved a number of disputes between a licensor of products and its manufacturer/distributor which arose following the termination of their distribution agreement. See News Analysis: In brief—Distribution agreements—termination (Demand Media Ltd v Koch Media Ltd).

Consumer protection

National authorities in the EU gain stronger powers from 17 January 2020 following the implementation of new rules regarding the enforcement of consumer law. These new rules give all authorities the same minimum powers and access to any information needed for their investigation. See: LNB News 16/01/2020 88.

Corporate
Corporate governance

The Financial Reporting Council’s Financial Reporting Lab has released a report in which investors have called for improved reporting in relation to workforce-related issues, including working conditions, changing contracts and automation. The authors of the report also provide guidance and examples for companies on how they can best provide improved disclosures. See: LNB News 21/01/2020 17.

Information Law & TMT
Data protection

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has released a Code of Practice to protect children’s privacy online. The Code of Practice, coined the Age Appropriate Design Code, sets out 15 standards that those designing, developing or providing online services are expected to meet in order to protect the privacy of children. See: LNB News 22/01/2020 82.

The executive director for technology and innovation at the ICO, Simon McDougall, has released a blog post reporting on the progress made since the ICO published its report on the adtech real time bidding industry in June 2019. McDougall states that the ICO is confident any organisation that has not properly addressed the issues identified are at risk of breaching data protection law, and McDougall says those who have ignored the window of opportunity to engage with the industry reform and transformations ‘must prepare for the ICO to utilise its wider powers’. See: LNB News 17/01/2020 44.

ePrivacy

In Privacy International v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and others , Case C-623/17, the Advocate General has opined that a requirement under UK law for providers of electronic communications networks to retain and then transmit to national security agencies bulk communications data does constitute processing of personal data within the scope of Directive 2002/58/EC (the ePrivacy Directive) and in its current form, the legislation is contrary to EU law. See News Analysis: AG opines retention and transfer of communications data contrary to EU law (Privacy International v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and others).

Employment
Tax 

John Dunlop, head of tax at DAC Beachcroft, considers the potential impact on the construction industry of the changes to off-payroll working due to come into force on 6 April 2020 (the off-payroll IR35 regime). See News Analysis: IR35 and the construction industry.

HMRC has supplemented its factsheet on changes to the off-payroll working rules from April 2020, published alongside Budget 2018, with a new factsheet aimed specifically at contractors. See: LNB News 16/01/2020 100.

 

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About the author:
Allison is a former partner of Shoosmiths, with extensive experience of legal management and practice compliance.