Why firms in Europe need to take GDPR seriously

The GDPR includes provisions that promote accountability and governance. These complement the GDPR’s transparency requirements. While the principles of accountability and transparency have previously been implicit requirements of data protection law, the GDPR’s emphasis elevates their significance.

Billy Muir works for LBJ consultants, an from Outsourced HR and Training Provider

“You are expected to put into place comprehensive but proportionate governance measures. Good practice tools that the ICO has championed for a long time such as privacy impact assessments and privacy by design are now legally required in certain circumstances.”

Ultimately, these measures should minimise the risk of breaches and uphold the protection of personal data. Practically, this is likely to mean more policies and procedures for organisations, although many organisations will already have good governance measures in place.

Under the GDPR, the data protection principles set out the main responsibilities for organisations.

The principles are similar to those in the DPA, with added detail at certain points and a new accountability requirement. The GDPR does not have principles relating to individuals’ rights or overseas transfers of personal data – these are specifically addressed in separate articles (see GDPR Chapter III and Chapter V respectively).

The most significant addition is the accountability principle. The GDPR requires you to show how you comply with the principles – for example by documenting the decisions you take about a processing activity.

Lawful processing

For processing to be lawful under the GDPR, you need to identify a lawful basis before you can process personal data. These are often referred to as the “conditions for processing” under the DPA.

It is important that you determine your lawful basis for processing personal data and document this.

This becomes more of an issue under the GDPR because your lawful basis for processing has an effect on individuals’ rights. For example, if you rely on someone’s consent to process their data, they will generally have stronger rights, for example to have their data deleted.

The GDPR creates some new rights for individuals and strengthens some of the rights that currently exist under the DPA.

The GDPR provides the following rights for individuals:

1. The right to be informed

2. The right of access

3. The right to rectification

4. The right to erasure

5. The right to restrict processing

6. The right to data portability

7. The right to object

8. Rights in relation to automated decision making and profiling.

The GDPR includes provisions that promote accountability and governance. These complement the GDPR’s transparency requirements. While the principles of accountability and transparency have previously been implicit requirements of data protection law, the GDPR’s emphasis elevates their significance.

You are expected to put into place comprehensive but proportionate governance measures. Good practice tools that the ICO has championed for a long time such as privacy impact assessments and privacy by design are now legally required in certain circumstances.

Ultimately, these measures should minimise the risk of breaches and uphold the protection of personal data. Practically, this is likely to mean more policies and procedures for organisations, although many organisations will already have good governance measures in place.

The GDPR will introduce a duty on all organisations to report certain types of data breach to the relevant supervisory authority, and in some cases to the individuals affected.

What is a personal data breach?

A personal data breach means a breach of security leading to the destruction, loss, alteration, unauthorised disclosure of, or access to, personal data. This means that a breach is more than just losing personal data.

The GDPR imposes restrictions on the transfer of personal data outside the European Union, to third countries or international organisations, in order to ensure that the level of protection of individuals afforded by the GDPR is not undermined.

How can I demonstrate that I comply?

You must:

a.   Implement appropriate technical and organisational measures that             ensure and demonstrate that you comply. This may include internal      data protection policies such as staff training, internal audits of             processing activities, and reviews of internal HR policies.

b.   Maintain relevant documentation on processing activities.

c.   Where appropriate, appoint a data protection officer.

d.   Implement measures that meet the principles of data protection by            design and data protection by default. Measures could include:

  Data minimisation;

           Pseudonymisation;

a.   Transparency;

b.   Allowing individuals to monitor processing; and

c.   Creating and improving security features on an ongoing basis.

d.   Use data protection impact assessments where appropriate.

You can also adhere to approved codes of conduct and/or certification schemes.

How can landlords avoid bankruptcy?

Unexpected costs are amongst some of the main reasons that landlords go into bankruptcy. According to nh-law.co.uk, there are new laws making it easier than ever for tenants to sue their landlord.

Here are some things that you need to know (note that this applies to tenants living in England only):

  • If your tenancy agreement was signed before 20 March 2019, and your tenants feel that you failed to provide them with a safe and healthy living environment, they can use Homes Act 2018 to file a complaint against you.
  • Everyone that has a secure tenancy agreement or statutory tenancy can use Homes Act 2018 (regardless of when their tenancy began).
  • Your tenants can sue you over a variety of issues, some examples are:
    • The house is already cold and damp.
    • You failed to carry out necessary repairs or maintenance.
    • Mould growth.

Under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, the responsibility of investigating living conditions was given to the local authorities which cause the local councils to suffer from budget cuts and staffing issues. This is the reason why some landlords are free to skimp the cost of repair and maintenance of their house, leaving tenants to deal with the consequences.

Under Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018, you must be accountable for the houses that you are renting out. You need to make sure that the property is fit to live in. Here are some things that you have to maintain:

  • ventilation;
  • damp;
  • cold; and
  • other issues that go beyond just repair.

Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018

The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 came into force on the 20th of March 2019. The purpose of the new law is to ensure that the rented properties are fit to live in. These properties should:

  • Be safe and secure.
  • Have a healthy environment.
  • Free from things that could cause serious harm to tenants.

Make sure to provide a safe, secure, warm and dry home for your tenants so you can avoid being taken to court. Note that the court can also require you to pay for compensation.

Your responsibilities as a landlord

According to the new laws, your home must fit for human habitation, this includes health and safety issues that may cause your tenants or anyone else in serious harm.

It does not matter what kind of property you are renting out; what matters is the agreement that you have with your tenants.

Bankruptcy Discharge OR Bankruptcy Dismissal

The ideal goal when filing for bankruptcy protection is to resolve your debts. There are a lot of different ways that you can achieve this ⁠— including Chapters 7, 11, and 13. For each of the different types of bankruptcy, debt can be eliminated when certain criteria are met or under certain conditions. A bankruptcy lawyer can explain the differences between the types of bankruptcy for you to choose which suits you best.

However, there are a few possible outcomes that can result from the proceedings regardless of what type of bankruptcy you file. Two of those outcomes include “discharge” and “dismissal”. Although discharge and dismissal are similar-sounding words, anyone filing for bankruptcy protection needs to understand that these two hold vital differences.

Discharge vs. Dismissal

When you enter into bankruptcy, the goal of the filing is generally to discharge your debt. It means you no longer have to repay your debt and it is no longer collectible by the company or entity to whom it was owed.

For example, eligible unsecured debts such as credit card bills are discharged at the end of the bankruptcy when you filed for Chapter 7 protection. Creditors cannot collect the debt listed on your credit report and you are no longer obligated to pay any of those discharged debts. Although the process is different, Chapters 11 and 13 can also result in the discharge of some debts.

A dismissal, on the other hand, does not mean that any debts are wiped clean. It means that the bankruptcy case is dismissed by the judge and will not continue to go forward. Thus, creditors can continue collecting the money that you owe or owed on your debts from you.

When does a dismissal occur?

Dismissal is something that you do not want to associate your case with as it will leave your financial problems unresolved. A dismissal can occur when something has gone wrong such as failure to follow through with the required obligations of your bankruptcy proceedings or if the judge believes that you are not eligible for bankruptcy, perhaps because you just filed recently.

Avoiding a dismissal should be a top priority for those who want to go through bankruptcy proceedings. A bankruptcy lawyer can help you with your bankruptcy case so you will be able to avoid this undesirable outcome and instead end up with an eliminated debt.

How To Recover From Bankruptcy

When you have filed for bankruptcy with the help of a bankruptcy lawyer and have completed the process and had your debts discharged, it is time to begin the process of bouncing back and rebuilding your credit.

CBS News, in an article, provided general tips to debtors which include monitoring your credit, submitting letters of explanation to the credit reporting agencies about your financial difficulties, getting approved for a credit card, using your credit card in a smart way, and paying it off each month.

These tips are great—but your bankruptcy lawyer can provide you with even more detailed advice on how to go about rebuilding your credit.

Tips from a bankruptcy lawyer: How to bounce back after bankruptcy

When you want to rebuild your credit after bankruptcy, as CBS News pointed out, you will need to get your source of credit. Although this proves to be a challenge, secured credit cards should be available to individuals almost as soon as their bankruptcy filing is complete. A secured credit card is a type of credit card that is backed by a cash deposit from the cardholder which acts as its collateral. In other words, you might get a $500 line of credit, but you will have to make a $500-deposit in an account held by the creditor that may be used to pay your bill if in case you can’t pay it back yourself.

Once you have the secured card, you will need to use it to make small purchases. Keep your use of the card below 30% of the credit amount available for you as your scoring will be penalized by credit bureaus if you maxed out your card. Always pay your bill in full since secured cards have high interest rates and since you don’t need to carry a balance to improve your credit.

After some time making on-time payments with your secured card, your credit score should improve enough that you may be able to get an unsecured card. You may also be able to qualify for a home mortgage in just 1 year after a Chapter 13 filing or 2 years after filing a Chapter 7.

Getting help from a bankruptcy lawyer

When you go through the bankruptcy process, your bankruptcy lawyer will provide you with comprehensive support and advice from getting rid of your debts to what you need to do to improve your credit and finances after bankruptcy. Take advantage of the advice made available to you and get an expert opinion from a bankruptcy lawyer today.

How can divorce affect a family business?

The end goal for a divorce is to find a way to disentangle two lives that have grown increasingly more intertwined with each year of marriage, including a multitude of issues around child care, finance, and in some instances, a family-run business that will be affected by the separation.

A divorce can obviously impact a business that both spouses, co-created, grew together, or even where one spouse played a minor role. Separating business owners should be made aware that the company will equally be affected regardless of whether their spouse had or had no involvement in the business activities. Lenore Rice from UK law firm Wilson Nesbitt Solicitors explains the impact of divorce on the family business:

A business is an asset. It also forms part of all the assets that make up a couple’s joint wealth, along with their home, any other property, cars, and other valuable items.

As opposed to being settled privately by way of a matrimonial agreement, the clients’ separation of finances will be dealt with by the courts. In which the goal will be to reach a fair division of assets including the couple’s joint wealth. Then, make a decision on how the sum total of their wealth should be fairly divided.

While the starting point for the court will be a 50/50 division of assets, it will look at a large number of factors, including but not limited to:

  • the earning potential of each spouse;
  • who will be the resident parent of their children (if applicable);
  • the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage; and
  • other factors that it would be fair and reasonable to take into account.

There is a possibility to divide the assets in a way that reaches the division in which the court believes to be fair and reasonable. It is often the case that a property or a business represents a majority of the wealth and the court may determine that a sale will be required in order to facilitate a fair division of the assets.

The family court will be slow to break up a family business. There may also be other options available, such as:

  • one spouse buying out the share the other is deemed to be entitled to; or
  • liquidation of some assets of the business in order to achieve the settlement the court has arrived at.

Asset sales are a last resort because it holds such a huge impact on the capacity of the business to perform. If the court decides that the family business does have to be involved in the divorce, they will then have to deal with issues around:

  • the valuation of the company and its assets;
  • shares or interests of other family members,
  • financial contributions made to create and grow the business; and
  • other matters which will affect the share entitlement of both spouses.

Do you need a solicitor for setting up a business?

As long as you’ve covered all bases, setting up a business can be rewarding

How crucial is having a business solicitor?

Normally, having a solicitor just gives you the peace of mind that you need while running a business. One can help you with complexities, save you time, effort, misery in the future, and even money.

Register a business without a solicitor

A solicitor isn’t exactly necessary for you to start a business as there is no legal requirement that ties you to seek advice or support from a solicitor when you set up your business.

What a solicitor cannot do for you and where else to look

In getting a solicitor, there are things that you do not need legal expertise for, such as:

  • having an idea;
  • writing a business plan;
  • market research; and
  • Choosing a business name.

Your company structure

Your business structure is vital to your success as you begin and expand.

If you are in partnership with other people in your business, you will be needing a shareholders’ agreement or partnership arrangement to ensure that you get fair return for your financial or non-financial investment.

Your solicitor will be able to explain the different options you have and advise you which one is the best for you and for your business and which you should set up—partnership, limited company, or limited liability partnership.

Business premises

It is important that you fully understand the terms of the lease when you finally choose your business premises. Ask yourself (and your solicitor) the following property questions:

  • Can the landlord increase your rent? If so, by how much?
  • Will you find yourself paying ever-increasing service charges?
  • Will you need planning permission for a change of use?
  • What are the restrictions if you choose to run your business from home?

Financing and taxes

You need to know what financial resources are available for you and what their legal implications are. Ask yourself :

  • Should you mortgage the family home?
  • Are lenders insisting on unfair terms?
  • Could you be getting a better deal with your bank?

Your solicitor will be able to explain these areas and may even help in negotiating with finance on your behalf. Your solicitor may also give you advice on issues such as the best time to start your financial year and tax implications of different business models.

Goods and services

It is important to know your legal duties when buying or selling goods and services. A solicitor can cover all the following questions in detail and refer you to a specialist, if necessary:

  • What could contract terms mean for your business?
  • What about product liability?
  • What can you legally say in adverts and promotional materials?

Get help with commercial contracts at sanderswitherspoon.co.uk.