September Newsletter

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September Newsletter

The Institute of Legal Research & Standards

SEPTEMBER 2020 – ARTICLES & ITEMS OF INTEREST

CPD HOURS AVAILABLE WITH FLOR & MARTIN – FREE AND VERY RELEVANT
As you are aware you have less than three months left to complete your CPD requirement for the 2020 cycle. This year, all hours can be done online and if you are looking for any CPD hours, there is excellent free CPD available courtesy of Flor McCarthy, Solicitor, Clonakilty, Co. Cork and Martin Lawlor, Solicitor, New Ross, Co. Wexford with all content very relevant to firms of all sizes.

These CPD talks are practical, relevant and educational. They are delivered by Flor and Martin along with excellent contributors and if the time and date does not suit can be watched after the live event at any stage.

The next webinar, the tenth this year, will take place on 23 October and will be a special PII Renewal Planning Session – What you Need to Do to Plan for Professional Indemnity Insurance Renewal in a Hard Market. Regular presenters Martin and Flor will be joined by solicitors professional indemnity insurance experts, Julie Brennan, Solicitor and Managing Director of the Institute of Legal Research and Standards, Sinead Ryan, Solicitor and Director of DWF Law and Finbarr Jeffers, Director of O’Leary insurance.

Go to www.florandmartin.ie to register for the upcoming webinar and also to get access to all replays and CPD certificates, previous webinars included the following topics, GDPR, AML, LGBT Diversity and Inclusion, Cashflow, Getting Back to Work in the “New Normal”, Post-Covid Legal Career Landscape and several Covid-19 Emergency webinars.

ADVISES GIVEN ON HOW TO DEAL WITH THE EXPECTED DIFFICULT 2020/21 PII RENEWAL
This month’s Law Society Gazette published an article titled “PII Hard Market expected for 2020/21 renewal period”.
• Premiums are expected to increase for 2020/21 renewal due to factors other than the performance of the PII market in Ireland, such factors are discussed in the article.
• The Law Society recommend that firms factor these expected increases into their financial planning for Q4 of 2020.
• The article is advising firms “to take proactive steps now to sell the firm as a good risk to insurers, in particular in the area of risk management. Insurers are increasingly focused on firms risk management policies and procedures as an indication of the risk profile of the firm”. The article advises on risk management procedures and states to report same in their common proposal form to insurers when renewing.
• The article states insurers look for firms that properly complete the form the first time, with in-depth detail and information as this is seen as a mark of the firm’s professionalism and risk profile.
• Firms are advised to submit their common proposal form earlier this year due to concerns that insurers may have decreased capacity and to send it to as many insurers as possible.

To read this article in full see https://www.lawsociety.ie/globalassets/documents/gazette/gazette-pdfs/gazette-2020/aug-sept-2020-gazette.pdf#=page13

AML – CHANGES TO HOW SUSPICIOUS TRANSACTIONS REPORTS ARE SUBMITTED
On 7 September 2020, Revenue introduced changes to how Suspicious Transaction Reports (STRs) are submitted. Reporting Entities and Money Laundering Reporting Officers (MLROs) are required to submit all STRs to Revenue, using Revenue‘s Online Service (ROS) only. Revenue no longer accepts hard copy (paper) STRs from that date onwards.

Reporting Entities should continue to submit STRs to both Revenue and the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), as dual reporting remains a requirement.

To view the revenue webpage relating to this change and more details on how to report a STR see https://www.revenue.ie/en/online-services/services/register-for-an-online-service/submit-suspicious-transaction-reports.aspx

GUIDE TO PROCESSING CLIENT DATA FOR COVID-19 CONTACT TRACING
As you are aware one of the advices given by the government to help keep us safe was to take contact details from clients and visitors to your business and retain them for one month in the event someone becomes ill and contact tracing is required by the health authorities.

The Data Protection Commissioner has this month issued a short guide to help businesses maintain records of clients/customers who have visited your business while keeping their personal data safe.

To view this guide see https://www.dataprotection.ie/en/news-media/blogs/processing-customer-data-covid-19-contact-tracing

PARENTAL LEAVE EXTENDED TO 26 WEEKS FROM 01/09/2020
The Parental Leave (Amendment) Act 2019 (the Act) came into effect on the 19 July 2019. The Act provided for a two-phase extension to the existing parental leave entitlements

On the 1 September 2019, the parental leave entitlement was extended from 18 to 22 weeks and now from 1 September 2020 the parental leave entitlement has been extended to 26 weeks. You must take parental leave before the child is 12 years of age, or 16 years of age if the child has a disability. In general, you must have been working for your employer for at least 12 months to be entitled to parental leave.

Employers should consider revising any policies referencing parental leave to take account of these changes.
To view the Parental Leave (Amendment) Act 2019 see http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/2019/act/11/enacted/en/html and to view general information regarding parental leave see https://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/employment/employment_rights_and_conditions/leave_and_holidays/parental_leave.html

REMOTE WORKING GUIDANCE NOTE
In the August/September edition of the Law Society Gazette the Technology Committee have published a REVISED guidance note on remote working.

They recommend continuing to review key processes involving technology particularly with respect to security.

Where practitioners or firm employees are continuing to work remotely they should look at the processes they have in place and review them under the following headings which are discussed in detail in the guidance note: –
• Remote Access – remote desktop
• Security – storage, software, fraud/phishing, password security, physical security, email, online file sharing, local administration access, sharing of IT devices
• Telecon and Videocon – keeping in touch with staff and clients
• Dictation – remote transcription/outsourcing dictation
• Communications – website, email footers/disclaimers, phones, post scanning, message apps
• PDF software

To view this guidance note see https://www.lawsociety.ie/globalassets/documents/gazette/gazette-pdfs/gazette-2020/aug-sept-2020-gazette.pdf#page=64

UK PII BUYERS GUIDE
With PII renewal looming and the common proposal form 2020/2021 due to be published soon the following might be of interest.

The Law Society of England and Wales has published a PII Buyers guide to help Solicitors make informed choices and to use the market effectively.

The UK PII Buyers guide discusses the PII market and what are the roles of the broker, sub-broker, insurer and underwriting company. It also looks at what service you are getting from your broker, understanding the costs and the Questions to Ask.

To view this guide see https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/topics/professional-indemnity-insurance/pii-buyers-guide

ICO PUBLISHES A BLOG DETAILING “ACCOUNTABILITY”
On the 17 September, the ICO published a blog by Ian Hulme, Director of Regulatory Assurance who this month launched a new Accountability Framework to help organisations manage their approach to privacy and understand what good accountability looks like.

The framework is divided into 10 categories and contains expectations and examples of how your organisation can demonstrate accountability and the article also contains an Accountability – Self Assessment available to complete.

To view details of the Accountability Framework and Self-Assessment test see https://ico.org.uk/about-the-ico/news-and-events/news-and-blogs/2020/09/accountability-framework-demonstrating-your-compliance/

TEMPORARY TAX CHANGE
The standard rate of VAT has been reduced from 23% to 21%, effective from 1 September 2020 to 28 February 2021. This was announced on 23 July 2020 under the July Jobs Stimulus Package.