REUTERS | Phil Noble

Theresa May’s announcement of a general election on 8 June 2017, and the accompanying period of “purdah”,  will have an impact on several issues that in-house lawyers have been tracking recently, in particular the various proposals on corporate governance reform. Other notable developments this month include final guidance on gender pay gap reporting and two consultations on the General Data Protection Regulation.

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REUTERS | Kacper Pempel

I have recently attended two events organised by Thomson Reuters. The first was a day dedicated to knowledge management – specifically management of legal know how; the second was devoted to analysis of trends and developments in insurance law.

Despite their different subject matters, significant portions of both days were given over to the common theme of “the impact of technology” and methods of planning for and capitalising on new technologies available – with consideration being given to the longer-term consequences of computers’ increasing ability to outperform humans for the future of roles in the legal profession.

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REUTERS | David Mdzinarishvili

Businesses should review their competition risk assessment in light of new measures announced in March. These encourage individuals to recognise and anonymously report anti-competitive practices at both the European and the national level. If they are a success, these measures could lead to an increase in investigations and reduce the availability of leniency programmes.

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REUTERS | Mark Blinch

Key items on the agenda for businesses in April include the start of the first reporting periods for large companies on payment practices and performance, the countdown to go-live for the Small Business Commissioner’s complaints function and data gathering in anticipation of the first gender pay gap reports.

April is typically a busy month for employment and tax developments, and this year is no different with, among other things, the introduction of the apprenticeship levy.

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REUTERS | Pillar Lee

The ICO Data Protection Practitioners’ Conference took place on 6 March. It highlighted several initiatives that the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) will be taking in the coming months, including:

  • Working on privacy seal accreditation at EU level and will use this work to inform its own work in the area of privacy seals, although this is not a priority for the ICO.
  • Reviewing feedback on its draft guidance on GDPR consent. The consultation closes 31 March 2017.
  • Providing advice and guidance on contracts, liability and data processors as part of its Overview of the General Data Protection Regulation.
  • Publishing its international strategy during April 2017, which will set out the ICO’s key international priorities and will be of interest to companies with cross-border data flows.
  • Supporting new mechanisms, such as codes and certificates, to support international data transfers, although not all of this will be in place before 25 May 2018.
  • Looking at its code of practice on data subjects access requests in the light of recent Court of Appeal decisions.
  • Reviewing how social media is being used to profile individuals and whether individuals are being disadvantaged by this.

In addition, the ICO plans to publish guidance on data protection officers within the next six months. This guidance will be particularly useful to organisations that need to appoint a DPO as part of their accountability programme for GDPR compliance.

Sara Catley
REUTERS | Ajay Verma

Alternative suppliers comprise a new and fast-growing sector of the legal market.

According to a study by Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute, The Center for the Study of the Legal Profession at Georgetown University Law Center and Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford, alternative legal service providers (ALSPs) now account for $8.4 billion dollars in legal services spend globally.

The report, based on research from over 800 law firms and corporate legal departments worldwide, highlights several themes that in-house lawyers who use or are contemplating using an ALSP should consider.

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