Last updateTue, 24 Feb 2015 5pm

Craig Bennett considers a recent Court of Appeal decision on the oral variation of contracts

Many contracts, including PFI project agreements, include a provision which prohibits oral variations and only permits variations when they are in writing.

Chris Syder looks at the potential impact of the Modern Slavery Act

The UK’s Modern Slavery Act 2015 (the Act) not only sets out stronger criminal sanctions against those who profit from this form of gross human exploitation, but has provided society with the opportunity to scrutinise and hold businesses more accountable for what they are doing to counter modern slavery. The Act requires both UK and foreign companies and other commercial organisations (including partnerships and LLPs) that carry out any business involving goods and/or services in the UK, and have a global annual turnover of £36m or more, to prepare and publish a slavery and human trafficking statement (a statement) for each financial year ‘as soon as reasonably practicable after the end of each financial year’. Businesses with a year end of 31 March 2016 were the first required to publish a statement under the Transparency in Supply Chains clause.

Nigel Howorth and Michael Coxall report on significant planning reforms

The Housing and Planning Act 2016 (the Act) has received Royal Assent. It provides framework powers for a number of significant planning reforms including the requirements to provide starter homes within residential development, a new route to planning permission through ‘permission in principle’, a disputes mechanism for parties struggling to agree terms of a section 106 agreement, and new powers to override private rights to replace the current ‘section 237’ powers. In this article, we comment on the principle elements of planning-related reform.

John Doherty and Richard Reeve-Young explore the vexed question of legal professional privilege in the context of increasing regulation

In a breakfast meeting in support of Youth At Risk on 9 March 2016, ‘The Scope and Role of the Legal Professional Privilege and its proper place in the context of corporate internal investigation’, Lord Neuberger commented on the increasingly contentious issue of the application of legal professional privilege (LPP) to communications/documents generated by lawyers in the context of corporate internal investigations. This area of the law is in sharp focus at present and developing swiftly, driven by greater regulatory enforcement, especially in the areas of bribery and corruption, which carry significant fines and prison sentences. Perhaps somewhat counter-intuitively, we turn first to Lord Neuberger’s concluding remarks, in which he empathises with the role of a professional adviser in an increasingly complex and fast-moving world (para 25):

In the second part of an examination of security risks in outsourcing, Dr Sam De Silva highlights the issues to be considered when drafting contracts

The first part of this article (‘Secure services’, POJ30, May/June 2016, p7) outlined the background to security risks and types of security requirements. This article will set out further areas in the contract which should be addressed, including:

Emily Heard questions whether updated procurement rules to support Britain’s steel industry have changed anything

On 3 April 2016, the government announced ‘new measures’ that it said would allow British steel companies to compete on a level playing field for public sector contracts.

Jonathan Bower and Richard Guyatt report on the White Rose carbon capture project

The recent decision by the Secretary of State (SoS) to refuse the application for the development consent order (DCO) for the White Rose carbon capture project came as no surprise in light of the government’s announcements on the closure of the Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Commercialisation Programme at the end of 2015. That programme would have provided funding to deliver these embryonic projects.

In the first of a two-part analysis, Dr Sam De Silva looks at the use of the outsourcing contract to manage security risks

The implementation of outsourcing often brings significant changes to the business processes of the customer. To successfully plan and implement these changes is one of the main challenges in outsourcing. Other significant challenges have their origin in security, mainly because some parts of the customer’s IT infrastructure and processes are now under the control of a third party, the outsourcing service provider.