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What is a Legal Register?

Written by Garth Watson
on January 13, 2017
What is a legal register? 
A legal register is a list of legal instruments, whether legislation, regulation or otherwise, which apply uniquely to a given operation.
 
Which legal instruments apply to an operation in question, is a function of various factors, such as:
  • the location of the operation in question
  • the activities carried out at the operation
  • the size and type of company or organisation.
The location of the operation determines the legal jurisdiction or jurisdictions (in the event that a number of jurisdictions for example (union, federation, country, province, departments, municipalities) have law making authority in the same location.
 
The location of the operation also indicates whether geographic features for example, proximity to a protected area, trigger the applicability of certain legal instruments.
 
Similarly, the activities of an operation affect which legal instruments should be contained in the operation's legal register. For example, a legal register for an office environment, will be very different to a legal register for an offshore oil and gas operation.
 
Lastly, where the applicability of a statutory instrument is not dependent on the location or the activities of an operation, applicability may be determined on the basis of other factors, such as the size of the company. For example, many legal provisions apply if a company crosses size thresholds either in turnover, or in number of employees and don't apply if these thresholds are not exceeded.
 
Legal registers are often used as part of management systems aligned with international standards such as ISO 14001 (environmental legal registers), OHSAS 18001 or ISO 45001 (health and safety legal registers) and ISO 27001 (information security legal registers).
 
Unfortunately, legal registers have some subtle shortcomings. Stay tuned for our first blog series which explores how to spot certain shortcomings of legal registers.
 
Want to find out if your business actually needs a legal register?
 
 
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