Please see below selected recent legal, in particular regulation-related change.
- According to a World Bank report, only 14 countries currently offer full, legal protections to women. The US ranked below Peru and Albania due to a lack of guaranteeing equal pay and mandates on parental leave.
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- Indigenous landowners from Australia’s Tiwi Islands secured a major legal victory when a federal court halted a $3.6 billion natural gas development project led by the energy company Santos.
- After a trial that lasted more than 15 years and cost hundreds of millions of dollars, a court in Cambodia managed to convict just 3 people in connection with the large-scale massacres that the Khmer Rouge regime carried out in the 1970s.
- Around 6,000 Indigenous Brazilians protested in front of the Supreme Court ahead of an expected ruling on whether Indigenous people in Santa Catarina state had a legal claim to their ancestral territory even if they didn't occupy all of that land in October 1988, when Brazil's democratic constitution was signed.
- Police are using inventive ways to counter protestors filming their actions. By playing copyrighted songs from their phones while being recorded, officers make it harder for these video recordings of potentially objectionable behavior to gain traction on platforms like YouTube, where audio recognition algorithms automatically pull the clips because they feature protected material.
- Germany aimed to publish a draft law that makes working from home a legal right. The German labour ministry had been exploring WFH initiatives since early 2019.
- World Justice Project’s annual Rule of Law Index ranked 113 nations’ adherence to eight dimensions of the rule of law, measuring factors such as levels of corruption and regulatory enforcement of government powers and fundamental rights. All countries are given an overall score on a scale of zero to one. The research, published in late 2019, surveyed the general public, and national practitioners and academics, with expertise in civil and commercial law, criminal justice, labour law and public health.
- Future Today Institute noted that technology is now moving faster than any government’s ability to legislate it. As a result, countries around the world are learning the hard way what happens when old laws clash with new technology. In 2020, U.S. Attorney General William Barr asked Apple to unlock the iPhone of the killer at the deadly shooting at the naval air station in Pensacola, Florida—a move that pits personal privacy against public safety. Also related to privacy: one lawsuit that claims that Alexa’s listening violates children’s privacy, and doctors and healthcare companies prepare for legal battles, as genomic testing surges. Robots bring up equally thorny questions. For instance, a robot went awry and crushed a man in a German Volkswagen plant, and an Uber autonomous vehicle killed a woman in Arizona last year. The devastating stories beg the question: who is responsible if robots kill?
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- Law firms have long struggled with diversity. While many graduating law school classes are evenly split between genders, those who reach partnership level are still overwhelmingly white and male.
- In 1997, there were only 72 climate laws and policies around the world, according to the Grantham research institute. Today there are at least 1,500 and more than 100 have been introduced since 2016, when the Paris Agreement came into effect. That list may grow as climate activists, investors and voters seize on the Paris accord, along with mounting scientific evidence of the need to cut emissions faster.
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- Governments around the world executed 993 prisoners in 2017, according to Amnesty International. The tally doesn’t include China, thought to be the world’s top executioner, which keeps the frequency of its use of capital punishment a closely guarded secret.
- Military operations are taking place with increasing frequency in densely populated areas. Such operations result in loss of life and harm to civilians, as well as damage to civilian objects. In order to protect civilians, it is imperative that armed forces and groups comply with the rules of international humanitarian law on the conduct of hostilities, including the rule of proportionality, which prohibits attacks which may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects or a combination thereof. Chatham House analysed the key steps that belligerents must take to give effect to the rule, with a particular focus on the expected incidental harm.
- Human rights law guarantees rights, including to education, healthcare and social security, that have redistributive potential and so have the potential to mitigate inequality, noted Chatham House. International human rights law has come to embody a commitment to tackling substantive inequalities which impair human dignity. This requires the state to regulate markets, and redistribute resources, in order to prevent discrimination against disadvantaged groups such as the poor.
- Many regulations play a standard-setting role, claimed the World Economic Forum. Contrary to the simplistic view that regulation is inevitably bad for business, there are in fact important channels through which regulation can benefit an economy: one is a market-creating and market-growing role and regulation can also benefit an economy by enabling competition.
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- In Regulation overload: a threat to the financial services?, Raconteur examined how, with financial services constantly evolving, regulation might shape the future of banking,
- The collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008 marked the beginning of the escalation of the global financial crisis. Since then, global regulation of the financial sector and the associated compliance processes within financial institutions have tried to adapt to prevent and mitigate future crises. The effect of this additional regulation has proven costly for the global banking system. A new Chatham House debate discussed the short, medium and long-term impacts of shifting global regulation patterns, asking whether there are there substantive signs of a new trend towards global prudential regulation.
- Should internet platforms be regulated like publishing companies? Like public utilities? Or should they be broken up, asked GZEROMedia? Those are just a few of the ideas for tightening government control over the tech sector and it believes that fhe drumbeat in favour of increased regulation is growing stronger. Recent headlines out of Myanmar, Libya, and China have shown that the challenges facing tech giants go beyond foreign meddling in US elections, and touch on broader questions of how to make a powerful, virtual public square created by private sector tech companies safe for people around the world.
- Singularity Hub warned that the breakneck speed of digital transformation leaves the public and governments behind so quickly that they often never catch up before the next iteration takes hold. The result is unbridled advances in technology that have dazzled the world, bringing benefits but simultaneously trampling some business models, neglecting to always consider what’s best for consumers, and even affecting the outcomes of elections. And it isn’t just the speed of digital technologies that makes them difficult to regulate. A further complication is that the technologies and platforms are global and at the same time governed by many jurisdictions and polities.
- The data organisations collect on customers, employees, prospects, even visitors to their buildings or their websites is increasingly subject to rules and regulations. The new European data-protection directive, GDPR, is part of the story but it’s not the whole story by any means, cautioned McKinsey consultants who spend their time working with clients on issues related to data, analytics, technology, privacy, and risk.
- Technology regulation must come from companies, not governments, argued Quartz, believing that private third-party supervisors are more effective than slow bureaucracies.
- Territorial data regulations are diverging with more governments requiring local storage of data. The number of nations implementing these intra fauces terra has tripled since 2016 to 84. Some estimates suggest it might reduce national GDP by 3.4%.
- The Network and Information System Directive (NIS) was approved by the European Union in August 2016 and, after the new legislation was ratified in the Houses of Parliament in April 2018, it became enforceable in May this year in 21 EU member states.
- GDPR will kill the innovation economy, warned Quartz, arguing that users are more keen to accept new privacy agreements from behemoths like Facebook than smaller companies, which could force more humble startups into extinction.
- EU member states are implementing local GDPR laws differently, warned the Future Today Institute, posing a daunting challenge for any organisation hoping to do business worldwide.
- The GDPR's “Right to Be Forgotten" rule would allow a disgruntled EU citizen to request that Google remove stories and websites from search, and it could have a profound effect on the dissemination of newsworthy information. To date, Google says its received requests to remove 2.43 million URLs since the initial right to be forgotten laws went into effect.
- The European Union’s new General Data Protection Regulation took effect on May 25th and imposes tough new rules on companies that traffic in the personal data of EU citizens. Firms that fail to protect users’ information will face steep fines of up to 4 percent of their global sales.
- Exponential View identified a lively debate about how to update economic regulation to guard against tax non-compliance and exploitative use while harnessing all the benefits, enabling people to earn money from under-used assets and giving users a wide choice at lower prices.
- European lawmakers are exploring the issue of whether to grant robots “electronic personalities”. More than 150 AI experts, including law professors, CEOs and computer scientists have warned against it.
- According to GZEROMedia, the EU’s rigorous privacy laws limit companies’ ability to send Europeans’ data across borders. Back in the US, meanwhile, if you’re not a citizen, authorities can ask you not only for your passport, but for your social media passwords as well. This trend of regulatory fragmentation will accelerate as world leaders start to grapple more seriously with the ethical and economic challenges of artificial intelligence and other advanced technologies. We are a long way from the 1990s vision of the internet as a public good that promised a post-national future. Where, exactly, we are going isn’t fully clear yet. But national governments will have a lot to say about it, asks GZEROMedia.
- Deloitte announced the release of its new regulatory and investor reporting tool, helping banks, asset managers and insurance firms cope with high levels of regulation and complex tax guidelines. Prisma looks to cut down the compliance burden for its clients by using one set of data to create multiple reports for regulatory and investor requirements. The service comes almost a year before the introduction of regulation on packaged retail and insurance-based investment products (PRIIPs), a regulatory breakthrough that will also assist asset managers.
- Companies around the world will be forced to add close to $3tn of leasing commitments to their balance sheets under new rules from US and international regulators - significantly increasing the debt that must be reported by airlines and retailers. A new financial reporting standard — the culmination of decades of debate over “off-balance sheet” financing - will affect more than one in two public companies globally.
- PwC published its latest Regulatory Briefing document, prepared this each quarter as a guide to developments around the world, based on input from many experts in the network. The new version of the Briefing, which is now available in a more interactive form on the global website with clients, regulators and other external stakeholders.
- The EU Audit Regulation Directive (ARD) represents a great opportunity to raise the status of audit and restore confidence in the discipline - providing the profession "gets it right". That was one of the messages to emerge from the Financial Reporting Council's recent panel discussion on 'Enhancing justifiable confidence in audit through implementation of the EU Audit Regulation and Directive' about its ramifications for the industry and wider business community. Panellist Hywel Ball, EY's UK head of audit, said that while the opportunity for positive change was clearly there, the profession was "on a tipping point" thanks to a "perfect storm" of innovation, big data, concerns over corporate cyber attacks such as that which affected Talk Talk, and the fact that "corporate reporting is becoming less relevant".
- Deloitte announced the launch of its financial services focused Asia Pacific Centre for Regulatory Strategy. Deloitte said the centre will, “promote regular dialogue with the industry and regulators, and deliver critical insights on managing the aggregate impact of regional and international regulatory policy”. Lead partner, Kevin Nixon said, "For Deloitte it will significantly strengthen the firm’s capability to provide clients in the Asia Pacific with the necessary forward looking advice on successfully managing complex regulatory change". The centre’s regional team also includes Tony Wood (FSI Risk & Regulatory Leader, Deloitte China and Hong Kong), Tsuyoshi Oyama (Centre for Risk Management Strategy Leader, Deloitte Japan) and Tse Gan Thio (Cyber Risk Services Leader, Deloitte Southeast Asia). To mark the launch, Deloitte also released a supporting thought leadership piece - ‘Regulatory reform: The Asia Pacific state of play’.
- Deloitte's Top 10 for 2015: Our outlook for financial markets regulation discussed whether 2015 will be the turning point in the post-crisis re-regulatory agenda, when the focus shifts from repairing balance sheets and reputations to the role of financial services in promoting jobs and growth.
- CEOs are urging governments across the world to tackle the burden of regulation and renew their focus on achieving fiscal balance, according to PwC’s 18th Annual CEO Survey. It found that over regulation remained the top of perceived threat to business. Scott McIntyre, PwC’s co-leader of government and public services, said: "Affordable government has become more important than ever, particularly in light of recurrent budget cuts to reduce fiscal deficits in many countries."