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Why is Having Accurately Up to Date Legislation Important?

Written by Garth Watson
on January 20, 2017

If you've ever been on the hunt for a legal register you'll probably have come across the certain aspects of:

  • Identifing the applicable legal requirements
  • Keeping up to date with changes in legislation and regulation
  • Accessing supporting guidance documents
  • Linking legal requirements to risk assessments

In this series, we "look under the hood" at these aspects of legal registers.

In previous blog posts, we've answered the question:"what is a Legal Register?" We've had a look at the problem of the "as amended curse" and the need for consolidated, up to date legislation. We've also examined some of the difficulties of identifying applicable legal requirements.

So, let's have a brief look at the second aspect:

Keep up to date with changes in legislation and regulation

Keeping up to date with legislation should be systematically managed. Law is not static. It is dynamic and ever changing. When the law changes, a number of questions must be asked, and you should not have to figure out the answers (unless you have all the time in the world - which you don't!). The questions are:

  • Does this change in legislation affect my company or Group?
  • If it does affect my company or Group, how many of my operational sites are affected?
  • Which operational sites are affected?
  • What must the affected operational sites do in response to the changes in legislation?

When the law changes, that is, when an existing regulation is amended, or a new regulation comes out, your legal register will be out of date until you go through the time consuming exercise of working through your master legal register and determining the answers to the above questions.

Aside: If you have a master legal register for your whole company (whether you have compiled it yourself, or whether you rely on a consultant or a legal register service provider) it is really important to understand some of the risks of a DIY approach. One of the major risks is the major drain on time that it will have on you, and the risk of you not being able to execute the task accurately. The other risks, covered here and here and here, which apply to the initial compilation of a legal register are also relevant keeping it up to date.

Does this change in legislation affect my company or Group?

A lot of dust gets kicked up in the process of a legislative change. A lot of changes that come up into your inbox are for sections that don't apply to your companies.

Here are a few examples:

  • An amendment is proposed, not final
  • An amendment final in nature, but it doesn't apply to your operation at all
  • An amendment is final in nature, and the amendment is to a statutory instrument that is on your legal register, but the amendment is to a section that does not apply to any of your operations.

You get the point. Trying to figure this stuff out is a complete waste of your time and your company's resources. It is difficult to do unless you have an automated LegalTech compliance solution which is configured to comprehend the nature of your operations so that you only are notified when it is relevant.

If the amendment does affect my company or Group, how many, and which of my operational sites are affected?

Once you have figured out whether any of your company's actual obligations have changed, you will need to determine which of the operations in question are affected by the amendment. Again, this will be a lot harder to do if the legal updates to your compliance system have to be configured manually when the law changes. It actually amounts to a "re-inventing of the wheel" because the same thinking that had to be done when setting up the legal register will have to be done each time the law changes. The process should be handled by centralised, automated LegalTech , which is designed to have this stuff covered.

In our next post, the third in this series, we are going to be discussing "Accessing the relevant legislation and supporting guidance documents". 

Go to Part 3





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