CEL News

Mapping the Moral Compass of In-House Lawyers

Publication date:

Professor Richard Moorhead, Professor of Law and Professional Ethics, launched the Mapping the Moral Compass of In-House Lawyers report in the US, at a seminar organised by Ethical Systems at NYU, New York City.  It was attended by a range of legal and business ethics policy makers, practitioners from private practice, in-house and government legal services and academics from the US, UK and Australia.  Ethical Systems is a non-profit organization housed in NYU Stern's Business and Society Program with a mission to bridge research by leaders in academia and the corporate world. The event was sponsored by The NY State Bar Association Int’l and Corporate Counsel Sections and Hinshaw Culbertson.

Dr. Maddalena Neglia invited to participate at the Dutch Social and Economic Council on the European Regulatory Framework on Business and Human Rights

Publication date:

In June 2016 Dr. Maddalena Neglia, the business and human rights expert based at CEL, was invited to present on behalf of CEL at the Dutch Social and Economic Council (SER) her research on European regulation on Business and Human Rights.

Directors' Statement on EU Referendum and Way Ahead

Publication date:

Iris Chiu, co-Director
Anna Donovan, co-Director


Our Centre, founded in 2010, is an international platform for the discussion of the interface of law and ethics in many areas of legal, regulatory and business interests. We have links with academics and institutions both within and outside the European Union and remain committed to fostering these vital links and important conversations.

The EU Referendum result will undoubtedly entail a complex process of legal and regulatory re-examination of many current arrangements. This is a time which many may see as disruptive. As academic researchers, we are committed to constructively contributing to the process of establishing clear frameworks for managing the legal and regulatory consequences that will unfold.

At this point we wish to set out a few post-Brexit high level principles that we believe should guide our endeavours towards clarifying and stabilising the application of law and regulation in the corporate and financial services sector in particular.

First, we must not engage in indiscriminate deregulation. Regulation inevitably imposes a cost on doing business but it also supplies a public good of governance too. It is important to examine the fundamental objectives served by each regulatory provision in question before wholesale decisions are taken in favour of deregulation. Further, regulatory standards add value to the appeal of quality in British goods and services, and it is important to consider the role of regulation and its support for our economy. In this light, we should remain apprised of the regulatory regimes and development of leading jurisdictions such as the US and EU and consider constructively the lessons that can be learnt.

Second, we believe in the importance of meaningful legal and regulatory alignment that is facilitative for the maintenance of close trading relationships with existing and new trading partners. We see key areas of legal convergence to be highly important for the UK’s bid towards mutual recognition and other forms of favoured trading arrangements in the world. In particular, legal harmonisation in financial services is in line with international developments towards the high prudential standards recommended by the Financial Stability Board, and conduct of business standards maintained in the US and EU.

Third, the UK has and must continue to develop leadership in the governance of the corporate and financial services sectors. Our pioneering Codes of Corporate Governance and Institutional Investor Stewardship have received many accolades worldwide and have been widely adopted. We are able to continue to offer governance and regulatory designs that are stakeholder-inclusive, proportionate, balanced and well-regarded.

The Centre is preparing to draft a more detailed White Paper on selected aspects of corporate and financial services law and regulation. We see ourselves positioned to feed into the constructive process of clarifying and stabilising the application of law and regulation, for the long-term good of protecting the UK’s economic interests in a sustainable and responsible manner.

Mapping the Moral Compass Report

Publication date:

Press Release in respect of the publication of a report as part of the UCL Centre for Ethics and Law Ethical Leadership for In-House Lawyers Initiative.
The report entitled “Mapping the Moral Compass”. View the Executive Summary of the report.

Statement of Support for the London Anti-Corruption Summit

Publication date:

The UCL Centre for Ethics and Law (‘CEL’) is delighted to endorse and release the following statement in support of the London Anti-corruption Summit by leading professional services organisations, reflecting their commitment to tackling corruption in the global economy. 

The CEL shares this commitment and is releasing the statement as part of its work on the relationships between ethics and the professions, law and business. In addition to leading research in the international and interrelated fields of Business, Regulation and Ethics, CEL is committed to furthering global understanding and awareness of anti-corruption responsibilities, corporate governance and compliance. The CEL looks forward to working with these professional services organisations in their ongoing efforts.

Professor Richard Moorhead, Director of the UCL Centre for Ethics and Law, said: “Corruption is a global problem that Society rightly demands is tackled much more effectively. We are encouraged by the initiative signalled by the signatories to this statement and Government commitment to this area. That such an initiative envisages working across professional boundaries and jurisdictions is particularly important.”

For more information or interview requests please contact Ruth Howells in UCL Media Relations on mob: +44 (0)7990 675 947, email: ruth.howells@ucl.ac.uk

CEL Commemorates 40th Anniversary of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises

Publication date:

prof-dr-roel-nieuwenkamp

The Centre for Ethics and Law commemorated the 40th anniversary of the OECD Guidelines for multinational enterprises with a highly engaging discussion by Prof. Dr. Roel Nieuwenkamp, Chair of the OECD working party on responsible business conduct.  The seminar was the second of two business and human rights events hosted by the CEL, the first being the workshop on Business and Human Rights Reporting held on 19 April.

Workshop on Business and Human Rights

Publication date:

Workshop Business and Human Rights Panel

On 19 April, the Centre for Ethics and Law hosted a workshop on current topics in business and human rights, featuring a distinguished panel representing the investor, practitioner and business advisory perspectives. The workshop was a free event attended by around 100 participants from academia, practice, industry and the legal and other professions.

Anna Triponel, Business Advisor, Triponel Consulting Ltd and formerly of SHIFT, discussed the development of standardised reporting frameworks for companies in business and human rights, and how such reporting frameworks can be used for good in changing corporate behaviour. However, critical challenges to the effectiveness of these frameworks were also highlighted.

Hans-Christoph Hirt, Co-Head of HERMES EOS, a leading institutional investor, firmly endorsed the importance of business and human rights disclosures and practices in listed companies and investors’ increasing interest in this area.

Robin Brooks, Partner at Norton Rose Fulbright, highlighted the limitations in current legal frameworks in company and securities regulation in encouraging a changed mindset in corporations engaged with business and human rights issues.  He also explored the promises and challenges in developing robust due diligence frameworks for companies to evaluate their business and human rights impact.

A lively Q & A and drinks reception followed this event. The Centre is proud to bring together a meaningful conversation across many sectors in this very topical issue and will continue to develop research and visibility in key areas of corporate behaviour, regulation and governance.

Automation - the end of low-qualified lawyers?

Publication date:

Professor Richard Moorhead writes guest post in Legal Business on the effect that automation may have on low qualified lawyers.

The case for legal advice privilege is not as strong as the profession wants it to be

Publication date:

Professor Richard Moorhead writes guest blog for Legal Business on how the case for legal advice privilege is not as strong as the profession wants it to be.

Calling all in-house lawyers to a nationwide debate on ethical leadership

Publication date:

Be part of the conversation – A roundtable discussion with Paul Gilbert of LBC Wise Counsel facilitating

In 2015 a major new project was launched to research and engage in-house lawyers on the role of the General Counsel in the context of Ethical Leadership.

The project is led by Professor Richard Moorhead, Professor Stephen Mayson both of UCL Centre for Ethics and Law (CELs), Paul Gilbert of LBC Wise Counsel and Steven Vaughan of the Centre for Professional Legal Education and Research (CEPLER).

The project has attracted the interest of the SRA and we believe it is the first time this important subject has been systematically researched with in-house lawyers at the heart of the conversation.

In 2015 the first phase of the project was to undertake an online survey of in-house counsel. The full results of the survey will be published this year along with the commentary of in-house lawyers in conversation with the project team.

This therefore is your invitation to attend a roundtable “town hall” conversation and to be part of the debate. The meetings will be held in March, April, May and June. Emerging themes from the survey will be shared, but crucially we want your views to be heard. Each conversation will be under the Chatham House rule so we can all speak freely without attribution. It is a unique study and your insights are vital for the research.

There is no fee to attend any roundtable meeting, we simply want you to come. It does not matter your sector, the size of your team or your seniority. Your views matter as an in-house lawyer today, so please be heard. Meetings are schedule for just two hours and hopefully at times that are not disruptive for the working day.

Dates and venues:

Alderney to embark on company law reform drawing on UCL legal analysis

Publication date:

UCL Faculty of Laws academics Dr Iris H-Y Chiu, Dr Martin Petrin and Ms Anna Donovan were invited to make a presentation to the States of Alderney on their report ‘Gap Analysis of UK and Alderney Company Law’ on 27 January 2016.

The Gap Analysis was commissioned by the States of Alderney in May 2015 and completed in November of the same year. The report was well received and the States will embark on a public consultation to reform its company law regime drawing from the comprehensive study of UK and Alderney company law contained in the Analysis.

The press announcement from the States of Alderney on the start of the public consultation can be found here.

"Do Institutional Clients Threaten Lawyer Independence" event in the news

Publication date:

The Centre for Ethics and Law event on 13 January 2016 on the question of whether “Institutional Clients Threaten Lawyer Independence”, a seminar discussion with Dr Steven Vaughan, CEPLER, Birmingham University; Enid Rowlands, Chair of the SRA, and Alasdair Douglas, Chair of the City of London Law Society, was received very positively.  A range of City, in-house, government and new law legal practitioners contributed to the debate from the floor and the event has since been discussed in Legal Futures and the Attic.

Corporate Lawyers’ Approach to Professional Ethics Could be a “Serious Problem” – Professor Richard Moorhead in Legal Futures

Publication date:

Legal Futures looks at Corporate Lawyers: Values, Institutional Logics and Ethics, a research paper by Professor Richard Moorhead examining the approach taken by corporate lawyers to ethics.

Read: Moorhead: Corporate Lawyers’ Approach to Professional Ethics Could be a “Serious Problem” in Legal Futures

Regulating (from) the Inside: The Legal Framework for Internal Control in Banks and Financial Institutions

Publication date:

Regulating from the Inside book jacket

Dr Iris H-Y Chiu has just published a monograph, entitled Regulating (from) The Inside: The Legal Framework for Internal Control in Banks and Financial Institutions, 360pp,  Hart Publishing, Bloomsbury, Oct 2015.

The book examines a key aspect of the post-financial crisis reform package in the EU and UK – the ratcheting up of internal control in banks and financial institutions. The legal framework for internal controls is an important part of prudential regulation, and internal control also constitutes a form of internal gate-keeping for financial firms so that compliance with laws and regulations can be secured. This book argues that the legal framework for internal control, which is a form of meta-regulation, is susceptible to weaknesses, and such weaknesses are critically examined by adopting an interdisciplinary approach. The book discusses whether post-crisis reforms adequately address the weaknesses in regulating internal control and proposes an alternative strategy to enhance the ‘governance’ effectiveness of internal control. Such alternative strategy is rooted in the enhancement of professionalism and professional ethics in internal control professions. The book shows how financial regulation can be enhanced by reaching into the interface of law, professional ethics and organisational culture. Visit the publisher's website to find out more about the book.

The Case for Change: Legislative Options beyond the Legal Services Act 2007

Publication date:

The Legal Services Act 2007 paved the way for significant regulatory reform, including a new system for resolving complaints and liberalisation to allow ownership and investment in law firms by individuals other than qualified lawyers.

Since late 2014, the legal regulators have been working together to share their experiences and to consider both minor and major changes to the Act in order to facilitate further liberalisation of legal services and to reduce the costs and burden of regulation on practitioners.

Professor Stephen Mayson, an honorary professor in the Centre for Ethics and Law in the Faculty of Laws at UCL, has been chairing the meetings of the chairs and chief executives of the regulatory bodies that have overseen this period of collaboration.  As part of this process, he has also chaired an investigation by the regulators of the legislative options that could be considered in any significant reform of the Legal Services Act.  The policy and options paper was submitted to Ministers in the Ministry of Justice earlier this month, and was published by the Legal Services Board on 27 July 2015.

This important groundwork should prove timely and valuable in light of the Lord Chancellor's statement to the Justice Select Committee on 15 July that the Act would be reviewed during the life of the current Parliament.

Search UCL News


Bookmark and Share