What is a Legal Register?
Just to recap, a legal register is a list of legal instruments, whether legislation, regulation or otherwise, which apply uniquely to a given operation. Typically, a legal registers, as they have come to be known, also provide guidance as to how the applicable laws apply to the operations of the organisation in question.
So, what makes a great legal register?
1. A great legal register is perfectly customised to the operations to which it applies. Just like a tailored suit; when it comes to the law, you can't afford to have an ill fitting legal register. This tailoring means it is comprehensive (includes all of the applicable legal provisions) but also excludes legal provisions which do no apply. This is because too much law is as bad or worse than too little law!
2. A great legal register is kept up to date:
- daily, as the applicable legal provisions change
- annually, on review of how the operational activities and other attributes of each business unit/site of the company have changed.
3. Notifications of changes in the applicable legal provisions are communicated, daily to the people within the company who are tasked with maintaining compliance with law at the company. It is key that these updates are tailored too, on a business unit or site-specific basis so that no irrelevant updates are sent (determining non-applicability of irrelevant updates can be a huge waste of time!)
4. A great legal register has rich meta-data attached to each applicable legal provision and robust search capabilities. This is so users (who are not necessarily legally trained) can find answers to legal questions at their moment of relevance.
5. A great legal register automates as much as possible and takes the “heavy lifting” off the shoulders of in-house legal so that their expensive skills may be better deployed elsewhere in the company.
6. The legal register should remove all the complexity from knowing what the legal obligations are, at all levels of the company
7. It allows users to handle the vast body of legal knowledge by knowing the answers to specific questions in “bite size” answers at the touch of a button, with the option to read more.
8. It should be expected that your legal register is updated in real-time up as the applicable legal obligations change.
9. A great legal register must be supported technically and by people knowledgeable in the applicable legal and operational domains, so that user queries can be addressed immediately and effectively.
10. Lastly, a great legal register should be seamlessly linked to each operational risk and deliver the up to date answer about which law applies to any given risk item in a risk register on the click of a mouse.
With the rise of legal tech, all the above, and so much more should be able to be done on a single online platform. Legal registers alone are dying. An online system that includes great legal registers and the appropriate functionality to ensure that compliance professionals and businesses find it easier to know all their legal obligations should, in today's world, be expected.