In Counsel Update – Summer 2016

19 / 07 / 2016

Welcome to the Summer edition of our In Counsel update.

The last few weeks have been marked by political and economic turmoil in the UK following the outcome of the EU referendum. With the Home Secretary, Theresa May as new Prime Minister it is hoped that the country will steer into calmer waters. However, while some effects of the Leave vote such as the impact on foreign exchange rates and the UK property market have already become apparent, others remain to be seen and depend on the next steps of the UK government. Businesses need to be aware of the likely impact of the Leave vote on them. In this update we look at the possible implications of the Brexit vote for different areas of law including contracts, data protection, employees, litigation and pensions.

We also analyse other legal developments and, within the corporate arena, outline how boards can maximise the success of a company. As cyber-attacks make international news headlines on a daily basis, we explain the main legal considerations of cyber security and how organisations can go about reducing their risk exposure. We also report on an important recent Employment Appeals Tribunal case which has opened the way to discrimination claims based on expectations in the workplace, and provide an update on the well-publicised debacle of the former high street giant BHS. 

We will keep you updated on these and other UK law developments as and when they happen. If you would like to know more about any of the topics covered in this update please get in touch.

Janice Wall, Head of Corporate
Marlies Braun, Editor

Contents

Brexit

The implications of Brexit on your business

On 23 June 2016 a thin majority of UK voters expressed that the UK should leave the European Union. We look at the impact of this decision on your business.

Corporate

  • How boards can maximise the success of a company – The nomination committee plays a vital, but often understated role to ensuring that the board has and continues to have the necessary range skills and expertise. It is critical for company success for the company to have a strategy for the future, including in the structure of its boardroom. Read full article
  • UK ahead of the curve on transparency – Before the Fourth EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive comes into force and shortly after the UK referendum vote, the European Commission has made a proposal to amend the directive and accelerate its implementation. Read full article

Data Protection

  • Cyber security: Three quick wins for in-house counsel – Cyber security is one of the biggest challenges businesses currently face, as cyber-attacks make national and international news headlines on an almost daily basis. Cyber-attacks are constantly evolving, as terrorists, organised criminals, nation states and ideologically-motivated ‘hacktivists’ become ever more sophisticated in their efforts to outwit operators in the public, private and third sectors. Read full article

Employment

  • Expecting staff to work long hours? This could be discrimination – In a recently reported case involving a brokerage firm (Carreras v United First Partnership Research UKEAT/0266/15) the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) has opened the way to discrimination claims based on expectations in the workplace. Read full article

IP & Commercial

  • It’s not just cricket!: Where are the boundaries of the fair dealing defence? – Cricket and copyright rarely coincide, but they did in the High Court earlier this Spring, when Mr Justice Arnold handed down a typically mammoth and meticulous judgement in England and Wales Cricket Board v Tixdaq.  Even if one’s interest in cricket is sub-zero (like the author’s), the decision is of major interest for the new light that it casts on the fair dealing defence, and the way that it updates the interpretation of that defence into 21st Century digital Britain. Read full article

Pensions & Employee Benefits

  • Clampdown on disguised remuneration schemes – Following the statement made by the Chancellor in the Spring 2016 Budget, further changes may be made to legislation to combat what has been commonly termed as ‘disguised remuneration’. Read full article
  • The bid that fell through Since the former high street giant BHS entered into administration in April of this year, efforts have been made to rescue BHS from liquidation and save the many jobs that are at stake. Read full article.
  • The end of the contracting-out era – Last month saw the end of contracting-out, a creature which was introduced in 1978 to enable employers to integrate their scheme benefits with those offered by the State. It is clear that the impact of the end of contracting-out will affect employers and members to different extents. Here we provide a recap of the factors which employers and trustees should have been considering in the run up to 6 April 2016. Read full article

Property & Construction

  • End of leases – Leases must be read and construed as a whole. In the hurly-burly of negotiation this wider perspective can be overlooked. Not until a matter goes to court is the inter-relationship between the parties’ covenants and obligations fully understood. Read full article