Latest legal and regulatory news: 3rd September

Latest legal and regulatory news: 3rd September

In this issue:

In-house resources, events, and networking

Risk & Compliance

Commercial

Corporate

Employment

Information Law & TMT


 

In-house resources

 
Crafty Counsel videos available in Lexis®PSL

LexisNexis® has entered into a content-sharing partnership with Crafty Counsel, the market-leading provider of video guidance for in-house lawyers.

A selection of Crafty Counsel videos are now available within Lexis®PSL—you can find them in the ‘Training for you and your team’ topic within Lexis®PSL In-house Advisor and they are also available alongside practical guidance and tools in related Lexis®PSL subtopic areas. Practice Note: Crafty Counsel videos in Lexis®PSL In-house Advisor contains a consolidated list of all the videos available.


Virtual networking and forum events

There’s no need to feel isolated if you’re working from home—join one of our virtual networking or forum events. Even if you aren’t working from home, take some time to network with your peers, find out what challenges they’re facing and how they are meeting those challenges.

22 September 2021


Disrupted or accelerated? Digital transformation in legal teams

Register now to attend

COVID-19 showed how an agile in-house team can be a competitive advantage for a business. Yet did the pandemic accelerate or disrupt digital transformation in legal teams? In this session, we explore the issues that deserve deeper consideration on the topic of legal tech. How are other legal teams using technology to increase productivity, reduce risk and collect meaningful data to demonstrate their value? Is there just a shift from legal tech to enterprise tech? What should you expect from your law firms in relation to use of technology to improve efficiency and reduce costs? What practical strategies can be used in implementing an effective change management initiative?

3 November 2021


Your essential regulatory and commercial news update

Register now to attend

We are almost a year into Brexit and settling into a new way of life post-lockdown. Parts of the economy are rebounding after a tough 18 months. Yet challenges will remain, alongside renewing optimism. What should be on your radar to best support your organisation moving forward? Join us as we highlight the key priorities for legal departments from recent government and regulatory guidance updates and recommended practical next steps to consider.

8 December 2021


The fight against modern slavery

Register now to attend

40 million people are estimated to be trapped in modern slavery worldwide. 1 in 4 of them are children. 71% are women and girls. 10,000+ were identified as potential victims by the authorities in the UK in 2019. Join us as we welcome guest speakers and senior counsel to discuss the critical role you can play as senior counsel in helping in the fight against modern slavery. This is not only a moral obligation it is a regulatory obligation.

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

UK plans for data protection law reform, new adequacy partnerships and new Information Commissioner

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) has announced its post-Brexit global data plans, through which it aims to boost growth, increase trade and improve healthcare and public services.

As part of its plans, the DCMS has outlined the first territories it will prioritise for new ‘data adequacy partnership’, which includes the US, Australia, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, the Dubai International Finance Centre and Colombia. The DCMS hopes that through these agreements, more trade and innovation can be unlocked by reducing unnecessary barriers and burdens on international data transfers.

The DCMS will also launch a consultation in the coming weeks to look at ways to increase trade and innovation through the UK’s data regime. It will look at ways to break down the current barriers to innovative and responsible uses of data. Greg Palmer, counsel at Linklaters, Will Richmond-Coggan, director at Freeths, Gabriel Voisin, partner at Bird & Bird and Eleonor Duhs, director at Fieldfisher, share their views on the announcements.

See: LNB News 26/08/2021 66.


The draft UK SCCs for international transfers

Bridget Treacy, partner, and James Henderson, associate, at Hunton Andrews Kurth, discuss the draft UK Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs) for international transfers under the UK GDPR recently published by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

They examine key differences between the UK draft SCCs and the EU SCCs adopted in June 2021 (the 2021 EU SCCs) under the EU General Data Protection Regulation, Regulation (EU) 2016/679 (EU GDPR) and how organisations that transfer data under both UK and EU GDPR are likely to approach using the draft UK SCCs and the 2021 EU SCCs in practice. They also address potential concerns organisations may have when using the draft UK SCCs and the next steps for adopting them.

See News Analysis: The draft UK SCCs for international transfers.


HM Treasury issues Afghanistan sanctions reminder

It has been reported that, in a newsletter distributed on 31 August 2021, HM Treasury has reminded businesses that UN sanctions are in place against individuals and entities associated with the Taliban.

See: LNB News 31/08/2021 57.


FATF publishes updated consolidated assessment ratings table

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has published a table detailing its latest assessment ratings.

The FATF and FATF-Style Regional Bodies conduct peer reviews on an ongoing basis to assess how effectively the respective members’ measures work in practice and how well they have implemented the technical requirements of the FATF recommendations.

The latest table provides an up-to-date overview of the ratings that assessed countries obtained for effectiveness and technical compliance. They should be read in conjunction with the detailed mutual evaluation reports, which are available on their website.

See: LNB News 31/08/2021 67.


 

Commercial

Weekly roundup of HMRC post-Brexit import, export and customs guidance—31 August 2021

HMRC has updated its import, export and customs guidance to reflect the post Brexit regime. The update covers the period from 23 August 2021 to 31 August 2021.

See: LNB News 31/08/2021 16.


ASA rulings—1 September 2021

Three complaints were received by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) that a holiday website’s statement that bookings could be cancelled for free was misleading. The ASA upheld the complaint. 

See: LNB News 01/09/2021 12



 

Corporate

CLLS responds to proposed power to block listings on national security grounds

The City of London Law Society (CLLS) has published its response to HM Treasury’s consultation on the power to block listings on national security grounds: Economic Crime Plan—Action 19. The response was prepared by a Joint Working Party of the Company Law Committees of the CLLS and the Law Society of England and Wales.

The CLLS states that, depending on the nature of the power, it would not oppose the introduction of a power to block listings on national security grounds. However, it also notes that it is difficult to comment definitively on the power in the absence of further detail and that the response is subject to further clarity on the power.

See: LNB News 31/08/2021 27.


FRC issues guidance on addressing potential exceptions when using ADA in audits

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has issued guidance for auditors on the subject of addressing potential exceptions when using audit data analytics (ADA) in an audit. The FRC’s guidance sets out general principles for addressing outliers when using ADA to respond to identified audit risks, an approach that auditors could take, and potential pitfalls to avoid. In addition, the FRC outlines a list of considerations that auditors may wish to take into account before using ADA in an audit’s evidence collection stage.

See: LNB News 27/08/2021 31.


FRC consults on proposed amendments to Audit Firm Governance Code

The FRC has announced that it has launched a consultation on proposed amendments designed to update and strengthen the Audit Firm Governance Code (Code). According to the FRC, its proposed amendments to the Code ‘enhance and clarify the role played by partnership boards in holding management to account and separate the roles of board chair and senior partner/chief executive’.

In addition, the proposed amendments would introduce ‘criteria for board composition and reinforce the position of independent non-executives within audit firms’, as well as ‘emphasise the importance of long-term sustainability, people, culture, and employee engagement, in line with the UK Corporate Governance Code’. The consultation closes on 18 November 2021.

See: LNB News 26/08/2021 4.


QCA calls for ‘meaningful communication’ between proxy advisors and issuers

The Quoted Companies Alliance (QCA) has announced that it has responded to the Best Practice Principles for Shareholder Voting Research (otherwise known as the BPP Group) survey, which looks at the scope and structure of the principles, as well as reporting on (among other things) the principles and their application.

According to the QCA, although the BPP Group’s survey ‘asked some essential questions’, it nevertheless encourages the BPP Group ‘to examine the responses with a focus on the bigger picture regarding the overall function and distribution of accurate information’. The QCA goes on to say that the principles, as they currently stand, do not ‘place enough emphasis on the importance of meaningful communication’, especially between proxy advisors and issuers.

See: LNB News 26/08/2021 48.


 

Employment

Home Office extends coronavirus (COVID-19) right to work checks concession

The Home Office has published updated guidance for employers carrying out adjusted coronavirus (COVID-19) right to work checks. It extends the concession permitting employers to carry out a manual right to work check using video conferencing and copies of supporting documents to 5 April 2022 (previously 31 August 2021).

See: LNB News 26/08/2021 55.


Coronavirus (COVID-19)—BEIS publishes update on exemption for senior executives travelling to England

BEIS has published an update to reflect the latest rules around travelling to England from a country or territory on the amber list. This allows certain senior executives to travel to England from an amber list country to receive an exemption for temporary leave from coronavirus quarantine, to undertake activities which are likely to be of ‘significant economic benefit.’ This cannot be used where the individual has been to a country or territory on the red list in the ten days before arriving in England.

See: LNB News 27/08/2021 48.


DWP issued updated Kickstart Scheme terms and conditions

The Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) published on 23 August 2021 an update to the Kickstart Scheme terms and conditions. The DWP highlighted that the terms and conditions for employers and gateways that were published on 21 June 2021 have been updated with a new version of the three sets of terms and conditions which now include a new annex entitled ‘Annex 5: Proof of concept’. The updated version is effective since 23 August 2021.

See: LNB News 27/08/2021 50.


Further EEA citizen changes made to right to work guidance

UK Visas and Immigration and Immigration Enforcement have announced that further changes have been made to the employer right to work checks supporting guidance. Changes to the guidance apply to the employment of EEA citizens whose employment commenced on or after 1 July 2021, where no statutory excuse was established for the duration of their employment before 31 August 2021.

See: LNB News 31/08/2021 72.


Home Office publishes roadmap for sponsorship changes

The Home Office has set out its ambitious plans to reform the sponsorship system so that it provides a faster end-to-end process for sponsors to hire overseas workers than in any other G20 country. It aims to achieve this first by tweaking the current sponsorship system, while designing and testing a faster, simpler sponsorship system using a range of IT and systems reforms with stakeholders.

The new sponsorship IT system will be rolled out in phases to increasingly larger number of users. One aspect underpinning the intended efficiency and transparency of the new sponsorship system will be an increased reliance on using/sharing information already held, both between the Home Office and other government departments and between the Home Office, the sponsor and the prospective worker. The cross-referencing of data is hoped to increase the speed of a getting a licence, getting a visa and reinforcing compliance.

See: LNB News 26/08/2021 63.


TPR stresses employers’ automatic enrolment duties

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has stressed that employers must not neglect workplace pension duties while adjusting from the impact of coronavirus. Those operating in sectors involving part-time or seasonal work, or in the ‘gig economy’, are at a higher risk of non-compliance than others. TPR calls for all employers in these sectors to ‘step up and do the right thing for their staff’ to ensure all ‘savers remain protected now and in the future’.

See: LNB News 26/08/2021 65.


BEIS invites other businesses to join EIDA

BEIS has announced that it has joined the Employers’ Initiative on Domestic Abuse (EIDA) as a Beacon member. This initiative aims to provide increased support to employees who are victims or at risk of domestic abuse, while furthering the understanding of this issue among the workforce. Concrete actions include the implementation of special HS processes and procedures, the integration of trainings on domestic violence and the access to specialists for employees. It follows the release of the Workplace Support for Victims of Domestic Abuse Report by BEIS in January 2021 which included evidence on what more can be done by employers and the government to tackle all forms of domestic abuse.

See: LNB News 27/08/2021 42.


ONS report finds that working from home benefits older workers

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has published a report on the impact that working from home has had on workers between the age of 50 and the state pension age.

The report found that flexible working arrangements can enable older workers to remain in the labour market for longer, noting that those who work entirely from home reported that they were planning on retiring later than those who were not.

The results of the survey found a correlation between the characteristics of those who leave the labour market early and the characteristics of older workers who did not work from home during the coronavirus pandemic. These characteristics include worse health, lower general well-being, residence in deprived areas, and possession of few or no qualifications.

See: LNB News 26/08/2021 47.


 

Information Law & TMT

EDPS publishes opinion on Commission's proposed consumer credit directive

The EDPS, Wojciech Wiewiórowski, has published his opinion on the European Commission’s proposed consumer credit directive. The proposed directive aims to replace Directive 2008/48/EC (the Consumer Credit Directive) with new rules that better account for the ongoing digitalisation of the consumer credit market, and trends such as increased use of online sales channels. 

See: LNB News 26/08/2021 52.


Tech platforms jump to beef up children’s data protection before UK gives them a push

MLex: New measures by Google, Instagram and TikTok to better protect children on their platforms could hardly have been better timed for UK headlines, ahead of the Children’s Code coming fully into force on 2 September 2021 and amid intensifying scrutiny of online safety by lawmakers in the UK. These and wider European regulatory and litigation pressures have set the context for action by the platforms.

See News Analysis: Tech platforms jump to beef up children’s data protection before UK gives them a push.

 

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