Governance: October deadline for publication of plans under British Sign Language (Scotland) Act 2015

The British Sign Language (Scotland) Act 2015  (the ‘Act’) came into force in October 2015.  The Act aims to promote the use and understanding of British Sign Language (BSL) through the use of ‘National Plans’ to be published by the Scottish Ministers, and ‘Authority Plans’ to be published by each of the ‘listed authorities’.   Section 6 states that any reference to a ‘listed authority’ is to a (Scottish) public authority listed or described in the Schedule to the Act.  This includes ‘A body which is a “post-16 education body” for the purposes of the Further and Higher Education (Scotland) Act 2005.’   The Scottish Government Equality Unit has issued guidance and templates (the ‘Guidance’) specific to various types of organisation, including Scottish HEIs, to help them publish Authority Plans in accordance with the Act.   According to Section 3(1) of the Act, a listed authority must publish its first Authority Plan as soon as is reasonably practicable after the first National Plan is published, and in any case within no later than 12 months.  Scotland’s first National Plan was published on 24 October 2017.  Listed authorities therefore have until 23 October 2018 to publish their Authority Plans.   Section 2(2) states that an Authority Plan should: set out measures to be taken by the listed authority in relation to the Read Full Article…

IP/IT: UKIPO response to consultation on Trade Marks Directive 2015

The UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) has published a response to its consultation on the implementation of the Trade Marks Directive 2015 (the Directive).  The consultation sought views on proposed wording of the  Trade Marks Regulations 2018 (the Regulations).  Further to the consultation, the Regulations have now been finalised and were laid before the UK parliament on 10 July 2018; however, they will not come into force until 14 January 2019.   The document summarises the responses received, none of which were submitted by UK HEIs, and outlines how the government intends to make the necessary amendments to UK law.  The most significant changes are:   Trade mark applications will no longer need to represent marks graphically.  The new requirement is that marks are represented in a ‘clear and precise manner’.  UKIPO has stated that it intends to facilitate the submission of applications ‘using the widest range of digital file formats that is technically possible with our current systems‘.  It is expected that relevant guidance will be published in the next few months.   Businesses will lose the ability to rely on the ‘own name’ defence against claims that they have infringed UK trade marks.  Currently, businesses can avoid liability for trade mark infringement if the trade mark concerned is for a word that matches their name, provided that their Read Full Article…

IP/IT: Updated ICO guidance

The UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has published the following guidance to help organisations comply with their relevant duties under the General Data Protection Regulation: Data Protection Impact Assessments: This replaces the previous code of practice on conducting privacy impact assessments. It explains the principles and process that form the basis of a DPIA.  It explains what a DPIA is for, and when and how it should be carried out. The right to be informed: This guidance sets out what information needs to be provided to people when their personal data is collected, when that information needs to be provided, and how it should be provided Automated decision making and profiling: This supplements the Article 29 Guidelines on Automated individual decision-making and profiling Determining what is personal data: This provides guidance on when personal data is being processed and when the obligations to comply with the provisions of the GDPR will apply Children and the GDPR: This focuses on the additional child specific considerations. Please contact a member of the HE Shared Legal team if you wish to discuss any aspect of the above guidance under the GDPR.

Validity of ‘no oral modification’ clauses

In Rock Advertising Limited v MWB Business Exchange Centres Limited [2018] UKSC 24, the Supreme Court was asked to consider whether a contractual term prescribing that an agreement may not be amended save in writing signed on behalf of the parties was legally effective.  Such clauses are commonly called a ‘No Oral Modification’ clause. The dispute concerned a licence to occupy premises, MWB Business Exchange Centres Limited (MWB) being the licensor and Rock Advertising Limited (Rock) being the licensee.  The clause in the contract that prevented oral variations stated: ‘All variations to this Licence must be agreed, set out in writing and signed on behalf of both parties before they take effect.’ MWB fell into arrears in relation to their payment of licence fees.  A schedule of revised payments was proposed and it was purported that an authorised representative of each of the parties agreed to this schedule over the telephone.  MWB was subsequently evicted and the validity of this ‘agreement’ to vary the licence came into dispute.  This was on the basis that it had not been not set out in writing and signed on behalf of both parties, as required by the clause set out above. The court noted that the reasons often asserted for treating No Oral Modification clauses as ineffective are: ‘(i) that a variation of Read Full Article…

UUK briefing on compensation and refund policies

On 27 April 2018, Universities UK (UUK) issued a briefing titled Compensation and refund policies – developing good practice.  The briefing, which was developed in consultation with the Association of Heads of University Administration (AHUA) and the Academic Registrars Council (ARC), ‘aims to aid consistency on how universities approach refunds and compensation policies for students’. The briefing provides: a brief analysis of the differences between the concepts of refund, compensation and non-financial remedies a summary of the relevant legal and regulatory framework, including the changes introduced by the Consumer Rights Act 2015 to remedies for services delivered without reasonable skill and care and, in the case of English institutions, the provisions that should be included in the student protection plan which each provider must submit to the Office for Students (OfS) for approval as a condition of registration practical guidance on how to apply good practice principles when drafting refund and compensation terms policies, as these form part of the student contract a list of questions to assist universities where it is necessary to decide which remedy may be appropriate, depending on the circumstances of each student complaint The briefing is not a substitute for regulatory guidance on the matters it covers and does not constitute legal advice.

Revised PPN on changes to data protection legislation

On 18 May 2018, the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) published PPN 02/18 for contracting authorities in England and Wales.  PPN 02/18 updates and replaces PPN 03/17, and contains enhanced guidance and clarification in a number of key areas relating to data protection, as follows: controllers and processors contract liabilities joint controllers crown to crown data agreements expired/legacy contracts protective measures enhancements to the standard generic clauses in Annex A For any contract amendments yet to be agreed and for new contracts to be let after May 25, the PPN states that contracting authorities ‘should use the provisions of this PPN including the updated standard generic clauses at Annex A’.  For contracts that ‘concern law enforcement processing, amendments should take effect from the date that the Data Protection Bill comes into force.’  The Data Protection Bill received Royal Assent on 23 May 2018 and became the Data Protection Act 2018. On 24 May 2018, the Data Protection Act 2018 (Commencement No 1 and Transitional and Saving Provisions) Regulations 2018 (SI 2018/625) were made.  These regulations set out the dates that various provisions in the Act will come into force.