REUTERS | Phil Noble

What’s on the agenda for in-house lawyers in June 2022?

Several Bills included in the Queen’s Speech are likely to be of significance to in-house lawyers. They may also be interested in a bribery case brought by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and recent developments in narrative reporting.

The Queen’s Speech

On 10 May 2022 the Queen’s Speech was delivered, setting out the government’s proposed policies and legislation for the current parliamentary session:

  • The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill will, among other things, strengthen powers to tackle illicit finance and reduce economic crime.
  • The Modern Slavery Bill will strengthen the requirements on businesses with a turnover of £36 million or more to publish an annual statement detailing the steps taken to prevent modern slavery in their supply chains.
  • The Data Reform Bill is intended to ease the burden of compliance with the Data Protection Act 2018 and UK GDPR, enable data to be shared more efficiently and update the enforcement powers and accountability of the Information Commissioner’s Office.
  • The Brexit Freedoms Bill will create new powers to strengthen the ability to amend, repeal or replace retained EU law without the need for primary legislation, while also “removing the supremacy of retained EU law as it still applies in the UK”.

Bribery and corruption

The SFO has charged Glencore Energy (UK) Ltd (Glencore) with seven counts of bribery. Glencore has indicated that it will plead guilty to all charges. The SFO’s investigation opened in June 2019 and concerned bribery and corruption across Glencore’s oil operations in Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast, Nigeria and South Sudan. The SFO allege that Glencore agents and employees paid bribes worth over $25 million for preferential access to oil, with the approval of the company.

On 20 May, the Department for International Trade published Bribery and corruption in trade: reducing the risk, guidance which will help companies prove that their business and supply chain is free from bribery and corruption, including available training and what records to keep.

Narrative reporting

There have been several recent developments in relation to narrative reporting:

Climate change

HM Treasury launched the independent UK Transition Plan Taskforce (TPT) at the end of April. The TPT aims to develop a gold standard for climate transition plans (also known as net zero transition plans) that certain financial institutions and listed companies will be expected to publish in 2023. The TPT subsequently published a call for evidence on its proposed sector-neutral framework for private sector transition plans. Responses should be received by 13 July.

BEIS has published a call for evidence on updating the government’s Green Finance Strategy. The closing date is 22 June and the updated Green Finance Strategy will be published in late 2022.

Russia sanctions

On 27 April, Practical Law presented a webinar, Recent Russia Sanctions and Related Considerations: How Practical Law Supports In-House Counsel. The panellists provided a summary of the key economic and trade sanctions and export controls imposed on Russia and Belarus by the US and the UK in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the resulting crisis. You can download the recorded webinar here. (Please note that the recording may take a few minutes to download.)

Listing regime

On 26 May, the FCA published a discussion paper setting out its response to feedback received regarding the structure of the listing regime and seeking further views on the UK listing regime. Comments should be received by 28 July.

Dates for your diary

1 June

3 June

Deadline for responses to European Commission consultation on proposed simplification measures regarding merger procedures.

7 June

8 June

Digital Regulation Co-operation Forum discussion papers on algorithmic processing and algorithmic auditing close for comments.

13 June

Changes to Rules 4.2 and 38.2 of the Takeover Code take effect.

17 June

Government response to the disability workforce reporting consultation due.

20 June

Low Pay Commission consultation 2022 closes.

21 June

European Commission call for evidence on revision of Informal Guidance Notice closes.

22 June

Consultation on UK-Switzerland trade relationship closes.

28 June

29 June

Deadline for responses to UK government’s call for views on improving security and privacy of apps and app stores.

30 June

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