Welcome to the December 2011 edition of ContractAlert from SEQ Legal.
Evolving consumer rights
In October the EU adopted a new consumer rights directive. The directive should be implemented in UK law by 13 December 2013, as part of a general overhaul of consumer protection laws. Notable changes include an increase of the cancellation period for distance contracts with consumers from 7 to 14 working days from delivery. There's a good summary of the changes on the Reed Smith site.
More contract law
The EU is also in the early stages of planning a common European sales law: an alternative to the 27 contract law regimes currently operated by member states. One of the stated rationales for the new law is reducing legal costs: not something the EU is known for! Out-law's Claire McCracken is not impressed.
New cookie guidance
On 13 December the Information Commissioner's Office published updated guidance on compliance with the new (EU-derived) cookies laws. Although the new laws came into force in May 2011, the ICO will not begin enforcing them until May 2012.
The government is currently consulting on reforms to copyright law. Proposals include the creation of a limited right of private copying, widening exceptions relating to non-commercial research, and creating a licensing regime for orphan works. See this summary from the IP Kat blog.
Common sense from the Supreme Court
Finally, the Supreme Court has confirmed that common sense should be employed in the interpretation of ambiguous clauses in commercial contracts.
Updates to templates:
On 25 November we revised several of our standard contract contract templates:
These changes were general refinements; they were not prompted by a change in the law. If you bought one of the updated documents in the last 12 months, you are entitled to a copy of the new version. To request an updated document, just send us an email. You can see a full list of the updates on the Template Contacts revisions page.
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