REUTERS | Amr Abdallah Dalsh

What’s on the agenda for in-house lawyers in September 2020?

Further changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme come into effect from 1 September 2020. Organisations will also need to continue to assess the impact of the European Court of Justice’s decision invalidating the EU-US Privacy Shield.


From 1 September 2020, the government will continue to pay 70% of wages up to £2,187.50 a month under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. To make up the 80% total (subject to the £2,500 cap), employers must pay 10% of wages plus employer NICs and employer pension contributions.

Interpol has published a report concerning the impact of COVID-19 on cybercrime showing a significant target shift from individuals and small businesses to major corporations, governments and critical infrastructure. In one four-month period (January to April), some 907,000 spam messages, 737 incidents related to malware and 48,000 malicious URLs, all related to COVID-19, were detected by one of Interpol’s private sector partners.


At the end of July the government and the European Commission announced the agreed dates for the next rounds of the negotiations on the future UK-EU relationship. Round eight is scheduled to be held during the week commencing 7 September 2020 and round nine during the week commencing 28 September 2020.

Data protection

Organisations will be continuing to assess the impact of the European Court of Justice’s decision invalidating the EU-US Privacy Shield (Data Protection Commissioner v Facebook Ireland and Maximillian Schrems (Case C-311/18)) (Schrems II) on their operations. The US Department of Commerce and the European Commission have begun discussions to evaluate the potential for an enhanced Privacy Shield framework to comply with the ruling, recognising the vital importance of data protection and the significance of cross-border data transfers to citizens and economies on both sides of the Atlantic. The US Department of Commerce has also updated its Privacy Shield Frequently Asked Questions.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has published guidance on artificial intelligence (AI) and data protection as part of its framework for auditing AI. The guidance has been developed jointly by the ICO’s AI team and Reuben Binns and will help organisations understand how data protection principles will apply to the development and use of AI systems.

Climate change

The Committee on Climate Change will publish its recommendation on the level of the sixth carbon budget for 2033-37 under the Climate Change Act 2008 in September 2020.

Consumer contracts

A sharp rise in online shopping in 2020, driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with the increase in retailer insolvencies, have prompted the Law Commission to launch a consultation on proposed draft legislation to change the rules regarding the transfer of ownership of goods under a sales contract between a consumer and a trader. The Law Commission considers that the existing transfer of ownership rules, contained in the Sale of Goods Act 1979, are outdated and were not designed for modern consumer transactions, especially internet shopping, where it is common for consumers to pay for goods in advance.

The consultation closes on 31 October 2020.

Key dates for your diary

1 September 2020

European Commission’s review of the General Product Safety Directive closes for comments.

2 September 2020

Age Appropriate Design Code comes into force.

3 September 2020

Implementing regulation on shareholders’ rights comes into force.

4 September 2020

Deadline for comments to the government call for evidence on ecodesign and energy labelling policies for energy-related products.

6 September 2020

Deadline for UK government’s Call for Views on proposed regulation of consumer smart devices.

7 September 2020

Deadline for responding to House of Commons Justice Select Committee call for evidence in relation to court capacity.

8 September 2020

The following European Commission consultations close:

9 September 2020

Government consultation on workplace support for survivors of domestic abuse ends.

10 September 2020

14 September 2020

Period of postponement of EPO oral opposition proceedings due to COVID-19 ends.

15 September 2020

18 September 2020

Closing date of the inquiry into the new UK regime for trade remedies.

21 September 2020

Deadline for responses to consultation on UK trade negotiations with Australia and New Zealand.

23 September 2020

European Commission consultation on White Paper on levelling the playing field as regards foreign subsidies closes.

29 September 2020

Closing date of the government’s consultation on a carbon emissions tax option after the Brexit transition period ends.

30 September 2020

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