Latest legal and regulatory news – 14th January 2022

Latest legal and regulatory news – 14th January 2022

In this issue:

In-house resources, events and networking

Risk & Compliance

Commercial

Corporate

Employment

Information Law


In-house resources, events and networking

Networking and forum events

26 January 2022

The effective leader—how to lead amid disruption and complexity

Register now to attend

This free-to-join forum brings together in-house lawyers working solo or in smaller teams to network and learn from one another. It is a chance to connect, debate topical issues and stay ahead of the latest regulatory and legal commercial updates for legal teams. Held in partnership with Flex Legal, Radius Law and Crafty Counsel.

Various dates

LexisNexis® Aspire Forum for Junior In-house Lawyers

To register your interest in joining the events, sign up as an Aspire member today

Aspire is a professional development and networking forum for junior in-house counsel. We have several events planned for the new year to continue supporting you through these uncertain times and provide a platform for you to connect with your peers. Events take place at the same time each month, from 5pm to 6.30pm.

 


Risk & Compliance

Cabinet Office appeals data breach fine

MLex: The Cabinet Office, the UK government department responsible for managing the Prime Minister’s affairs, is appealing a fine it received on 2 December 2021. The Information Commissioner’s Office fined the Cabinet Office £500,000 for publishing the postal addresses of celebrities and public figures.

See News Analysis: Cabinet Office appeals data breach fine.


Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office publishes change to UK Sanctions List

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office has announced the change of the UK Sanctions List's format, as of February 2022.

See: LNB News 11/01/2022 31.


UK Finance blog discusses environmental crime and thematic sanctions

UK Finance has published a blog discussing whether environmental crimes could be a possible thematic sanctions area. Although the focus is currently on environmental crimes as a risk to supply chains and the links to money laundering, the author argues that the ‘old world’ of anti-money laundering and sanctions operating in silos is being broken down.

See: LNB News 12/01/2022 93.


European Commission amends list of high-risk third countries with strategic deficiencies under MLD4

The European Commission has adopted a delegated regulation identifying high-risk third countries with strategic deficiencies in their anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing regimes. The new regulation adds some countries which have been identified as having strategic deficiencies and removes other that no longer present strategic deficiencies.

See: LNB News 12/01/2022 50.


OECD offers upgraded foreign bribery toolkit, but will recalcitrant countries use it?

MLex: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD’s) Working Group on Bribery in International Business recently updated 11-year old guidance with provisions that encourage members to use new tools to crack down on foreign bribery and better protect whistleblowers. While the revisions give the OECD’s Working Group a wider base to push for reforms by lagging members, it may yet have its work cut out to win results, not least because it can’t compel them.

See News Analysis: OECD offers upgraded foreign bribery toolkit, but will recalcitrant countries use it?.


Commercial

ASA rulings—12 January 2022

A complaint was received by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) about a teleshopping presentation for beauty products and whether it misleadingly implied that customers would be refunded if they were not satisfied with their purchase.

See: LNB News 12/01/2022 8.


An analysis of the draft EU Digital Services Act

Lesley Hannah, partner in Hausfeld’s competition, technology and data breach teams, and her colleagues, senior associate Kio Gwilliam and associate Antonio Delussu, discuss the EU Digital Services Act (EU DSA), a draft set of European rules intended to modernise and harmonise the regulation of so-called ‘intermediary services’ and ensure a safe, predictable and trustworthy online environment for all users.

See News Analysis: An analysis of the draft EU Digital Services Act.


Law Society expands legal and regulatory blockchain guidance

The Law Society, in conjunction with Tech London Advocates (TLA), has published a second report on legal and regulatory guidance in relation to blockchain. The guidance covers a range of key issues for legal practitioners to be aware of when advising on matters relating to distributed ledger (DLT) technology.

See: LNB News 11/01/2022 27.


High priority lane unlawful due to breach of obligation for equal treatment but outcome unlikely to be substantially different (R (on the application of Good Law Project Ltd) v Secretary of State for Health and Social Care)

The Technology and Construction Court has concluded that the claimant’s challenge to the defendant’s award of contracts for supply of PPE at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic has succeeded in one of its grounds of challenge; namely that the policy of adopting a high priority lane for potential suppliers who were known to the government was a breach of the obligation of equal treatment under the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (PCR 2015) and, therefore, unlawful. However, the court went on to conclude that it is highly likely that the outcome would not be substantially different even if the policy had not been adopted. The court therefore refused to grant declaratory relief, pursuant to section 31(2A) and (2B) of the Senior Courts Act 1981.

See: R (on the application of Good Law Project Ltd and another) v Secretary of State for Health and Social Care [2022] EWHC 46 (TCC).


Commission launches call for evidence on sustainable consumption of goods

The European Commission has created an initiative to promote sustainable use of goods throughout their useful life. The call for evidence will remain open for feedback until 5 April 2022 (midnight Brussels time).

See: LNB News 12/01/2022 87.


Weekly roundup of HMRC post-Brexit import, export and customs guidance—10 January 2022

HMRC has updated its import, export and customs guidance to reflect the post-Brexit regime. The update covers the period from 20 December 2021 to 10 January 2022.

See: LNB News 10/01/2022 30.


Corporate

Market Tracker trend report—trends in UK public M&A in 2021

Corporate analysis: What are the current trends in UK public mergers and acquisitions? The Market Tracker trend report includes in-depth analysis of the UK public M&A transactions announced in 2021 and provides insight into what we and our contributors expect to see in 2022 and beyond.

See News Analysis: Market Tracker trend report—trends in UK public M&A in 2021.


UK and EU regulation of capital markets—what to expect in 2022

Financial Services analysis: 2021 was a busy year for capital markets lawyers. This News Analysis provides an overview of what financial services lawyers can expect in 2022 with regard to the regulation of capital markets in the UK and EU.

See News Analysis: UK and EU regulation of capital markets—what to expect in 2022.


CLLS and Law Society publish response to UK corporate re-domiciliation consultation

The City of London Law Society (CLLS) and the Law Society have published a joint response to BEIS, HMRC and HM Treasury’s consultation seeking views on the introduction of a corporate re-domiciliation regime which would help to support companies seeking to relocate to the UK.

See: LNB News 12/01/2022 85.


Employment

UK—What to expect in employment law in 2022

With the upcoming Employment Bill, expected increases in statutory rates of pay, and key discrimination and holiday pay cases to be decided on, 2022 is looking to be a busy year for employment law. Paul Harrison, Rachel Farr, James Brown and Mandy Li, all at Baker McKenzie, highlight key decisions and legislation that employers should be aware of in 2022.

See News Analysis: UK—What to expect in employment law in 2022.


Fear of coronavirus (COVID-19) not protected under UK discrimination law

In X v Y, Case no. 2413947/2020, an employment tribunal had to decide if an employee's fear that she might catch coronavirus, and needed to take steps to protect herself and others, amounted to a protected belief under the Equality Act 2010 (EqA 2010). Joanne Moseley, professional support lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, reviews the tribunal’s decision.

See News Analysis: Fear of coronavirus (COVID-19) not protected under UK discrimination law.


CBI’s Change the Race Ratio campaign reaches 100 signatories

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has announced that its Change the Race Ratio campaign, which is aimed at increasing racial and ethnic participation in British businesses, has reached 100 signatories. Some of the latest campaign signatories include BAE Systems, Bolton Associates, Britvic, First Group PLC, JLL, Mace Group, Miles Advisory, Paysafe and Sage.

See: LNB News 12/01/2022 66.


Scottish Government announces proposal to introduce a ‘right to disconnect’ for its employees

In December 2021, the Scottish Government committed to having ‘meaningful discussions’ on providing a ‘right to disconnect’ to government employees. The ‘right to disconnect’ focuses on allowing workers to disconnect from their jobs outside their contractual working hours. Imogen Dean, associate at Dentons, analyses the impact of these ‘meaningful discussions’ and what employers can do in the absence of legislative change.

See News Analysis: Scottish Government announces proposal to introduce a ‘right to disconnect’ for its employees.


Employee unfairly dismissed for raising safety concerns on the day of the first lockdown

In Preen v (1) Coolink, (2) Mullins, Case no. 1403451/2020, an employment tribunal had to decide if an employee had been automatically unfairly dismissed for raising safety concerns during a WhatsApp exchange with his manager shortly after the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, announced the first national lockdown on 23 March 2020. Joanne Moseley, professional support lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, reviews the tribunal’s decision.

See News Analysis: Employee unfairly dismissed for raising safety concerns on the day of the first lockdown.


New year, new visa routes

Last year, the government acknowledged in its Innovation Strategy that the UK is currently losing the global competition for top talent. With more inventors leaving the UK than arriving, the government is intent on reversing this ‘brain drain’ by 2030. Gillian McKearney of Fieldfisher LLP considers the new visa routes proposed for 2022 by the government.

See News Analysis: New year, new visa routes.


Home Office and Defra announce extension of Seasonal Worker visa route

The Home Office and the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) have announced that the Seasonal Worker visa route, which allows foreign workers to come to the UK for up to six months to work in the horticulture sector, will be extended until the end of 2024.

See: LNB News 06/01/2022 21.


Sponsor guidance updates confirm ID check app changes

Updated versions of Part 2 of the Worker and Temporary Worker Sponsor Guidance, and Appendix D to the sponsor guidance, issued on 30 December 2021, confirm that non-EU/EEA/Swiss applicants applying for permission to stay on the Skilled Worker route are now able to apply using the UK Immigration: ID check app where they have previously given their biometric information to the Home Office within the last 15 years (ie as part of a previous application) and have a valid biometric residence permit (BRP).

See: LNB News 05/01/2022 47.


Information law

EDPS sanctions EU Parliament over EU-US transfers, cookies, data rights and transparency

Campaign group noyb has welcomed a decision by the (EDPS that identified numerous breaches of Regulation (EU) 2018/1725 that governs the handling of personal data by EU institutions. Given the similarities between that Regulation and the EU GDPR, aspects of this decision will also be of interest to other types of organisation.

See: LNB News 11/01/2022 77.


French CNIL fines Google and Facebook for complicated nature of cookie refusal

The CNIL has announced that it has fined Google and Facebook Ireland Ltd €150m and €60m respectively for their failure to ensure that the websites facebook.com, google.fr and youtube.com allow for the refusal of cookies to be as easy as it is to accept them. The CNIL states that this failure constitutes an infringement of Article 82 of the French Data Protection Act. In addition to the fine, the CNIL has ordered both tech firms to rectify this within three months. If they fail to do so, the CNIL is to force them to pay a penalty of €100,000 a day until it is resolved.

See: LNB News 07/01/2022 13.


EU businesses wait to see if data law will make sharing mandatory

As businesses look to February 2022 for clarity on whether new EU legislation will force them to share more data with other companies and with public bodies, they may take hope from the strength of opposition voiced by the private sector. But while a European Commission call for feedback on its forthcoming Data Act saw companies push back on mandatory data sharing, other organisations offered less confrontational responses.

See News Analysis: EU businesses wait to see if data law will make sharing mandatory.

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