REUTERS | Maxim Shemetov

What’s on the agenda for in-house lawyers in November 2019?

As well as the ongoing uncertainty around Brexit, this month new SRA regulations come into force and Thomson Reuters hosts its second Legal & Technology Procurement Conference.


The European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill (WAB) was introduced to the House of Commons (HoC) on 21 October 2019. Although the HoC approved the second reading of the WAB, it rejected the government’s programme motion for its timetabling. Rejection of the programme motion means that the WAB is currently in limbo. A further motion is required to enable the WAB to proceed to committee stage or beyond. Practical Law has published Practice note, European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill, which:

  • Summarises the main provisions of the WAB.
  • Explains why the government cannot ratify the withdrawal agreement until Parliament has passed the WAB.
  • Explores the potential effects of amendments to the WAB during its passage through Parliament.

According to news reports, the EU27 leaders have reached agreement in principle on a third extension, with formal EU27 agreement on its terms and length expected early next week. Nevertheless, the government has continued to publish no deal Brexit guidance for those working in various industries. The guidance contains common advice about matters such as checking whether employees will need a visa or work permit, and more specific advice for particular industries, including:

  • Gambling.
  • Tourism.
  • Sports and recreation.
  • Media and broadcasting.
  • The creative industries.

New SRA regulations come into force

The new Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) Standards and Regulations, which include new separate codes of conduct for law firms and solicitors, come into effect on 25 November 2019.

Practical Law has published Article, The StaRs are coming out – are you ready?  to help in-house lawyers prepare for the new regime.

Thomson Reuters Legal & Technology Procurement Conference

The Thomson Reuters Legal & Technology Procurement Conference will be held in London on 5 November 2019. Key themes that will be discussed include:

  • How to devise an effective strategy for legal technology and procurement.
  • How to understand your risks and mitigate them early.
  • Why embracing change is so important.

The conference will be chaired by Vincent Cordo, Central Legal Operations Officer at Shell International, and Claire O’Brien, COO, Legal UK and EMEA, Deutsche Bank.

Supreme Court hearing of vicarious liability data breach case

The hearing of the Morrisons case in the Supreme Court is scheduled to take place on 6-7 November 2019. The Supreme Court granted Morrisons permission to appeal following a Court of Appeal judgment. The Court of Appeal had held that Morrisons was vicariously liable for an employee’s data breach.

Climate change and the environment

The Environment Bill 2019-20 was introduced into Parliament on 15 October 2019. It establishes the Office for Environmental Protection (which is also likely to regulate climate change matters) and introduces measures to:

  • Improve air and water quality.
  • Tackle plastic pollution.
  • Extend producer responsibility.

Other recent climate change developments to note include publication of:

Cyber security

A June 2019 report by the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee on cybersecurity in the UK criticised the Cabinet Office for a lack of evidence-based assessment and a rigorous business case when trying to meet the objectives of the current five-year national cybersecurity programme. The report notes that the government needs to do more to educate consumers about how safe websites and internet-enabled products really are, and should clarify its approach on this to the committee in writing by November 2019.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has recently published version 3.0 of the Cyber Assessment Framework (CAF).  The CAF provides a framework for assessing compliance against certain top-level cybersecurity objectives formulated by the NCSC as part of its role as the UK’s single point of contact and computer security incident response team under the Network and Information Systems Regulations 2018 (SI 2018/506).

Dates for your diary

5 November 2019

Law Commission call for evidence on intermediated securities closes.

12 November 2019

Closing date for the OECD Secretariat’s consultation on its proposal for a unified approach to digital tax.

14 November 2019

EUIPO consultation on common practice for new types of trade mark closes.

15 November 2019

29 November 2019

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