REUTERS | Mike Blake

Summer round-up: key developments you may have missed

It’s that time of year again. Many of us are currently facing the music, getting back to our desks and trying to work out what we’ve missed. With that in mind, I’ve compiled a short digest of some of the key pieces of current awareness covered by Practical Law over July and August. These centre on Brexit (inevitably), corporate governance, data protection, modern slavery and the gender pay gap. 


Following a cabinet meeting at Chequers on 6 July, the government proposed the establishment of a UK-EU free trade area for goods as part of the future economic partnership (read more).

On 12 July, DExEU published a white paper on the future UK-EU relationship which reiterated the government’s policy for the UK to leave the single market and the customs union, and proposed institutional arrangements for the future UK-EU relationship, including a proposed free trade area for goods (with a facilitated customs arrangement); a new economic and regulatory arrangement with the EU in financial services; and co-operation in areas such as data protection, security, law enforcement and criminal justice (read more).

On 24 July 2018, DExEU published a white paper confirming, among other things, that the forthcoming European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill will protect the rights of EU citizens in UK law and legislate for the transition period to 31 December 2020 (read more).

A number of Brexit-related statutory instruments (SIs) have been published in recent weeks. In addition, the House of Commons sifting committee published guidance explaining how to comment on Brexit-related SIs that a minister proposes to make under the made negative procedure (read more).

Practical Law published an article by Daniel Greenberg which analyses the general parliamentary processes of interest to those who wish to monitor or challenge Brexit-related SIs.

Practical Law has launched a Brexit statutory instruments: tracker service.

Corporate governance

On 16 July, the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) published new versions of the UK Corporate Governance Code (the Code). The new Code, applicable to accounting periods beginning on or after 1 January 2019, includes changes relating to the methods by which companies should engage with their workforce; the board’s ability to determine independence; the proposed removal of exemptions for smaller companies; and the remit of the remuneration committee (read more).

The FRC also published a revised version of its Guidance on Board Effectiveness. The revisions support the changes that have been made to the Code (read more).

Then on 31 July 2018, the FRC also published revised guidance on the strategic report that all but small companies must prepare under the Companies Act 2006 as well as a statement summarising feedback received on the related consultation paper issued in August 2017 (read more).

Data protection

The European Parliament issued a non-binding resolution on 5 July 2018 directing the European Commission to suspend the EU-US Privacy Shield by 1 September 2018 unless the US government can demonstrate compliance with its terms (read more).

Modern slavery

Following publication of a report on the economic and social costs of modern slavery (which estimated that it costs the UK up to £4.3 billion a year) the Home Office launched an independent review of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 (MSA 2015) on 30 July 2018. The aim of the review is to report on the operation and effectiveness of, and potential improvements to, provisions in the MSA 2015 (read more).

Meanwhile, the Crown Prosecution Service published its first ever Modern Slavery Report, detailing its efforts during 2017-18 to disrupt, prosecute and improve its response to modern slavery offending (read more).

Gender pay gap

The House of Commons’ Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee published a report on gender pay gap reporting on 2 August 2018. The report makes several recommendations for company boards, investors and regulators to drive change in tackling the gender pay gap including, among other things, ensuring gender diversity is properly reflected throughout the company, notably at board level and the introduction of key performance indicators for reducing and eliminating pay gaps (read more).

Rob Beardmore

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