For any lawful business one objective should always be to operate within the framework of applicable law. This objective should, in quality and quantity of execution, be at least equal to other objectives such as production, adherence to budget and quality. The setting and achieving of business objectives are regarded as one of the key functions of management. Legal compliance is one such objective, which requires specific tools. A legal register is an important tool in achieving legal compliance.
Legal compliance can be described as such status of meeting statutory compliance that results in a reasonable expectation that no adverse legal processes would be instituted or completed successfully against an organisation. Legal processes could include criminal prosecution, civil litigation, and administrative sanctions, such as compliance and prohibition notices, permit cancellations, etc.
The following driving forces for legal compliance can be identified:
Avoiding criminal prosecution or effectively defending such prosecution.
Avoiding other adverse regulatory action such as contravention or prohibition notices (shut-down orders), administrative fines, etc.
Avoiding civil litigation or effectively defending such litigation.
Labour unions, through strikes and other means, are pressurising employers on legal compliance aspects.
Financial motivation including the avoidance of legal costs, penalties and damage awards. This includes direct and indirect costs of incidents that could have been avoided if there was full legal compliance.
Safety, health and environmental certification standards such as ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 / ISO 45001 have specific and definite requirements for legal compliance and legal registers.
Corporate governance guidelines, such as the King Code, require legal compliance as a minimum for SHE management, to which a whole chapter is dedicated.
The moral convictions of managers and other persons in the workplace.
A legal register is first and foremost a tool to manage legal compliance. There can be no legal compliance if there is no certainty what needs to be complied with. A legal register offers the following benefits.
1. Applicable legal requirements are identified and documented. Depending on the scope of the legal register, this will include safety, health and environmental legal requirements on a national, provincial and local level.
2. Non-applicable legal requirements are filtered out, making the legislation more accessible to those who need to manage compliance. Only those provisions placing an obligation, prohibition or significant legal risk on the register user will be included in the register.
3. Applicable legal requirements are explained where possible in user-friendly terms, with the elimination of legal jargon.
4. Applicable legal requirements are made accessible in electronic format (MS Word) facilitating ease of use in other compliance tools such as training, reports, incident investigations, audits, management plans, memorandums, etc. Information can be easily disseminated to persons who need the information.
5. The legal register can be used as a compliance audit tool (guideline, workbook, or protocol).
6. Legricon partnered with an IT company to ensure that the current, updated legal register is always available online. The website is essentially a document management service, where the legal register documents will be stored on a trusted third-party server. The client will have access to the legal register by logging into the website with a username and password. The client can either view the document(s) online, or download it to a PC, server, smartphone, tablet, or wherever access is needed from.
7. Legricon maintains the legal register through an update process, where the user will receive any changes in legislation, new legislation, or repealed legislation will be removed from the legal register. Each register is individually reviewed based on the client's activities by our specialist legal consultants. The Record of Changes document indicates the changes made for each update, and there is also a cover letter explaining the changes affected to the register. The client can use these documents at management review and SHE committee meetings to discuss changes in relevant and applicable legislation and to raise awareness amongst affected employees.
8. Even if there are no critical changes in legislation, we continuously strive to improve the quality of the legal register by reviewing the existing content. We welcome any requests or recommendations clients may have in this regard.
9. Telephonic support is also available.
We provide you with legal registers in MS Word format.