Knowledge Notes

Knowledge Collection | Renewable energy, the 'buy now, pay later' clampdown, and UK crypto-asset consultation

Published on 2nd Sep 2022

Welcome to this week's Knowledge Collection

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Autumn brings rising uncertainty throughout the worldwide economy, as the energy crisis continues. In the UK, Ofgem has increased the energy price cap, calculated as a reflection of the continued rise in global wholesale gas prices.

The fluctuating economic situation is having a significant impact on many businesses and sectors, including construction. Next week, we host a webinar discussing some of the principal considerations for businesses building renewable energy assets in Europe, with a particular focus on managing risks around the rising rates of inflation and cost increases.

The drive to find alternative sources of energy to achieve net zero means that hydrogen will have an increasing role in Europe. Our webinar series later this month explores the legal and regulatory landscape and current and future use cases for hydrogen as hydrogen markets scale up.

As consumers struggle with the cost of living crisis, in the UK, the Financial Conduct Authority is implementing its new consumer duty, and has been robust in its stance on buy now, pay later agreements. It warns firms (whether FCA-authorised or not) that financial promotions used to sell these products must comply with the regulatory requirements.

In July, the Law Commission published a consultation paper on digital assets, which continues its work on their legal status. Businesses involved in crypto-tokens have an opportunity this autumn to help shape their future regulation, with the consultation open until 4 November.

Also in July, the UK government introduced the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill, intended to reform the data protection regime. Our Insight outlines the key changes contemplated in the Bill, although the proposed legislation may be affected by further amendments (and possibly by the imminent change of prime minister, should he or she take a different approach).

This month our other events include a look at best practice in conducting employee investigations, with an expert panel of speakers from Belgium, Germany and the UK, and the return of our compliance series, which begins with an examination of the consumer and data protection issues in relation to manipulative technology interfaces known as dark patterns.


The Energy Transition

This edition reports on the energy price cap, a new application process for power bioenergy with carbon capture and storage projects, and a vehicle-to-grid balancing trial.

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Law Commission launches digital assets consultation

The UK's Law Commission has published a consultation paper on digital assets, following an earlier public consultation and UK Jurisdiction Taskforce legal statement on the legal status of crypto-assets. Proposals include a third category of personal property, "data objects".

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UK financial watchdog tells firms to review 'buy now, pay later' promotions

The regulator is expected to take a more proactive approach to the supervision and enforcement of buy now, pay later promotions, particularly with regard to unauthorised firms.

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When do 'exceptional circumstances' count for UK tax residence status?

The Covid-19 pandemic and recent case law have highlighted HMRC's strict stance on individuals caught in the UK. Although HMRC has updated its guidance on "exceptional circumstances" relief to take account of the pandemic and the recent case of Taxpayer v HMRC is helpful, there are still "grey" areas.

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UK government formalises data protection reform following consultation

The Data Protection and Digital Information Bill, introduced in July, is awaiting its second reading scheduled for 5 September 2022, when Parliament next sits following the summer recess. The Bill proposes wholesale changes to the UK's privacy framework, following a consultation held last year.

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Building energy assets: construction issues in 2022 from a Polish, German and UK perspective

7 September | 08:30-9:30 BST

The changing economic and political landscape is affecting the delivery of construction projects across Europe. This webinar considers the situation in Poland, Germany and the UK.

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Hydrogen markets and regulation

12 September | 09:00-10:00 BST

Osborne Clarke lawyers across a number of European jurisdictions will explore the current regulatory landscape and the standards that are required in the market and will be joined by Pablo Borondo, Senior Associate, European Hydrogen from Aurora Energy Research, Europe's largest dedicated power analytics provider, who will discuss the current hydrogen market against the backdrop of foreseeable and long term market opportunities.

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Developing and financing a hydrogen project

13 September | 09:00-10:00 BST

This webinar will explore the legal challenges and opportunities for developers and funders of hydrogen projects across Europe. Ikigai Capital, which has been appointed to deliver a hydrogen investment strategy for the Thames Estuary, will discuss its experience of conducting hydrogen projects.

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The future of hydrogen projects

14 September | 09:00-10:00 BST

From policy aims to the use cases for hydrogen in various European jurisdictions, the session will look at the long-term future for hydrogen and its role in Europe's journey to net zero. Michal Kubicki, a policy advisor in the European Commission, will explain how hydrogen will feature in the future of sustainable transport across Europe.

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Retail and consumer sector guide to conducting employee investigations

15 September | 09:00-10:00 BST

Getting an investigation right is key to a fair disciplinary procedure or when preparing for a potential termination for poor performance or serious cause, while mitigating the risk of a claim by the employee for unfair termination. An international panel from Belgium, Germany and the UK will discuss best practice for conducting employee investigations and what to consider when instigating disciplinary procedures in the retail and consumer sector.

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Eating Compliance for Breakfast: 'Dark patterns' and how to avoid them

20 September | 09:00-09:30 BST

The session will look at risks and offer tips and guidance on how to avoid legal liability in relation to both consumer and data protection. It will also explore the implications of the Digital Services Act and proposals to restrict dark patterns in the UK.

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* This article is current as of the date of its publication and does not necessarily reflect the present state of the law or relevant regulation.

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