In addition to Brexit, key focus areas for in-house lawyers this month include climate change, corporate transparency and smart contracts.
Theresa May’s announcement that she will resign as Conservative Party Leader on 7 June 2019 has once again intensified Brexit confusion. The process for electing a new party leader will begin the following week and she will remain as Prime Minister until the leadership race is concluded. The prospect of a no-deal Brexit has increased once more, with the next deadline of 31 October 2019 looming.
The recent Extinction Rebellion protests have helped push climate change up the corporate agenda but it is recent changes to corporate governance regimes that need to keep it there. Practical Law has published a note for the board on climate change-related corporate governance issues for large private companies.
On 2 May 2019 the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) published its advice to the government on a net zero carbon target, recommending that the UK’s greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets be tightened from the current 80% target under the Climate Change Act 2008, to a UK target of net-zero GHG (or a 95% GHG reduction for Wales) by 2050 (or net-zero GHG by 2045 for Scotland). The CCC recommends much stronger, urgent policies to deliver tangible emissions reductions across all sectors.
Improving corporate transparency
BEIS has published a consultation on proposals to enhance the role of Companies House and increase the transparency of UK corporate entities. The proposed reforms aim to improve the accuracy of information on the companies register and to strengthen the UK’s ability to combat economic crime. The government is consulting on a wide range of measures which, if implemented, would require significant legislative and operational changes.
The closing date for responses to the consultation is 5 August 2019.
Financial and narrative reporting
On 1 May 2019 the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) published a consultation on proposed revisions to Standards for Investment Reporting 1000-5000, prompted by significant changes that have occurred in the UK regulatory landscape, in accounting, auditing and assurance standards, and to the EU prospectus rules. Responses to the consultation are requested by 25 July 2019.
The European Commission intends to adopt a revised version of the non-binding guidelines of Directive 2014/95/EU on disclosure of non-financial and diversity information by certain large undertakings and groups during June 2019.
Consultation on cryptoassets, distributed ledger technology and smart contracts
The UK Jurisdiction Taskforce has published a consultation paper to help identify key issues of legal uncertainty concerning cryptoassets, distributed ledger technology and smart contracts. On the enforceability of smart contracts, the paper asks in what circumstances a smart contract is capable of giving rise to binding legal obligations, enforceable in accordance with its terms.
The deadline for responding to the consultation is 21 June 2019.
GDPR certification schemes and codes of conduct
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has called for organisations to get in touch if they are considering developing a General Data Protection Regulation ((EU) 2016/679) (GDPR) certification scheme or creating a sector specific code of conduct. A certification scheme is a way for organisations to demonstrate compliance with the GDPR. A code of conduct can be drawn up by trade associations or representative bodies to help their members to demonstrate compliance and therefore can be tailored to the needs and challenges of a sector.
It is now almost one year since the GDPR came into force and Practical Law has published a blog post taking stock of its impact.
Introductory training on the Courts Electronic Filing system (CE-File)
Further to the roll-out of the Courts Electronic Filing system (CE-File) to the regional Business and Property Courts on 30 April 2019, HMCTS is providing free, online training on using CE-File, delivered by Thomson Reuters. The sessions will take place from 10.00 am until 11.00 am on 18, 19 and 20 June 2019.
Thomson Reuters 2019 GC Leadership Forum
Thomson Reuters is hosting its annual GC Leadership Summit in London on 10 July 2019. The event will be co-chaired by Alison Kay (Group General Counsel and Company Secretary at National Grid) and Andrea Harris (Group Chief Counsel and Head of Sustainability at WPP). This year, sessions include:
- Ethics, corporate culture and the role of the GC as leader.
- Achieving diversity in gender, ethnicity and social mobility.
- How do you reward and incentivise your team when cost savings are required?
- Insights from a former GC on converting to a CEO role.
Dates for your diary
5 June 2019
Government consultation on introducing mandatory labelling scheme for consumer smart devices closes.
6 June 2019
Ministry of Justice consultation on extension of fixed recoverable costs in civil cases closes.
7 June 2019
Last date for responses to the call for views by the Sir Donald Brydon Independent Review on the quality and effectiveness of audit.
10 June 2019
- The draft Directors’ remuneration: draft Companies (Directors’ Remuneration Policy and Directors’ Remuneration Report) Regulations 2019 are scheduled to come into force.
- Deadline for transposition of the Shareholder Rights Directive (2007/36/EC) into national law.
- Last date for responses to the HM Treasury consultation on the transposition of the Fifth Money Laundering Directive into national law.
- Government consultation on new statutory controls on HFSS advertising closes.
11 June 2019
Consultation on UK’s proposed approach to regulating non-UK based digital service providers closes.
14 June 2019
CAP’s new rule to prevent harmful gender stereotyping in adverts comes into force.
30 June 2019
Date by which BEIS must complete its review of the PSC register, in accordance with section 82 of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015.