A regulatory snapshot of a changing UK


The reshaping of the UK regulatory and policy environment post-Brexit is firmly underway. There has not been – and likely will not be – a headline-grabbing bonfire of regulation. But we are seeing material change with digital, markets and ESG regulation at the centre. This is introducing both complexity and opportunity, particularly for international businesses making investment and business decisions in relation to the UK. Fundamental cross-sectoral regimes are emerging. In each case, they reflect genuine divergence and differentiation in the legal position and also present an opportunity to make the most of regulatory flexibility and be more nimble in the UK's approach to emerging trends in regulation. Good policy-making, that supports innovation and encourages inward investment, will require greater transparency, predictability and engagement between Government and industry.

As part of our UK2030 programme, Charles Brasted gives an overview of these changes in the video below, and our subject-matter experts delve into the specific themes in a series of short videos, which can be found below and in ‘Related materials’ to the right.

Digital Regulation post-Brexit

Digital regulation is at the heart of the UK economic strategy. Telha Arshad provides an overview of the current state of play.

Financial services regulation update post-Brexit

Rita Hunter discusses developments in regulation for financial services post-Brexit, specifically focusing on MiFID and MiFIR requirements, wholesale markets review consultation, and the roadmap to sustainable investing.

Kalifa Review update: Developments in Crypto assets and Central bank digital currencies

Dominic Hill addresses developments in both crypto assets and central bank digital currencies following the Kalifa Review in February 2021.

Trends in the Energy Regulatory sphere

Alex Harrison and Julia Marlow discuss Energy Transition, digitalisation, and the regulatory impact of divergence from the EU post-Brexit.

UK data protection framework post-Brexit

Eduardo Ustaran sheds light on how the UK data protection framework will change post-Brexit. In this short video, he focuses on international data transfers, and compliance mechanisms.

The latest in UK medical device regulation

Jane Summerfield discusses the recent consultation on changing UK medical device regulation. She discusses the potential to fast track patient access based on other trusted markets, how to encourage further innovation in medical devices into the UK market, digital technology, and more.


Further information can be found on these topics and more on Hogan Lovells Engage:

27 October 2021 - There are just over two months to go until the National Security and Investment (NSI) regime goes fully live in the UK – now is the time to ensure you are up to speed on how it will impact your acquisitions and investments.  Deals in a broad range of sectors, from high tech to sectors more traditionally associated with national security considerations (such as defence and key infrastructure), may face scrutiny and possible intervention.

30 April 2021 - The UK’s much publicised National Security and Investment Bill has now been granted Royal Assent – passing into law an Act which will significantly affect the way investments in the UK can be reviewed by the Government where they raise national security considerations.  The Act introduces a mandatory notification regime for certain key sectors (with significant sanctions for failure to do so) and the possibility of voluntary notification or risk of being called in by the Government for review for other transactions.  The new regime is expected to go live towards the end of the year but has retroactive application in certain respects to transactions being undertaken in the interim.

7 October 2021 - Following the end of the Brexit transition period, the UK sanctions regulations transposing EU-derived sanctions made under the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018 (SAMLA) came into force. The Government stated that these were intended to deliver a similar policy effect as the old EU regimes. But, they contain changes which businesses must adjust to.

4 August 2021 - The UK Government has been busy adding flesh to the bare bones of the domestic subsidy control regime that has been in place since the start of 2021 following the signing of the EU/UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA). 

The Subsidy Control Bill introduced before Parliament on 30 June will, according to the UK Government, provide “quicker and more flexible support” to UK businesses in the post-Brexit period, supporting the UK’s economic recovery and delivering UK priorities such as levelling-up, achieving net zero and increasing UK R&D investment. The extent to which the regime will be able to deliver all of this remains to be seen.

28 July 2021 - In what could herald the most significant changes to the UK competition regime in 25 years,  the UK Government has announced a series of proposed reforms to UK competition law enforcement.  The stated aims of the reforms are to produce a “best in class” competition regime to allow the UK to exploit post-Brexit opportunities, whilst also helping the Government address other challenges – including its ”build back better” recovery strategy, its pre-Covid “levelling-up” agenda, and harnessing the benefits (and reducing the consumer risks) of an increasingly digitalised economy.

1 September - On 20 July 2021, the government launched a consultation containing substantial proposals that could herald the most important reform of the UK competition regime in 25 years and represent seismic changes to how consumer law is enforced. If implemented, these proposals will result in a stronger and more powerful Competition and Markets Authority, albeit one that is more overtly the subject of influence from government.

22 July 2021 - The UK Government is consulting on proposed powers for the recently launched Digital Markets Unit.  This is a significant juncture in the reconfiguration of the post-Brexit regulatory landscape, marked by a determination to be a world leader in the regulation of digital markets.  This consultation offers an important opportunity for stakeholders to shape future policy through active engagement with the Government – get involved!

13 May 2021 - Over 2 years since the UK Government first laid out its plans to introduce a new regulatory framework for “online harms”, the Online Safety Bill was published on 12 May 2021. The Bill imposes duties of care on providers of digital services to make them responsible for illegal and harmful content generated and shared by their users as well as duties to protect users’ rights to freedom of expression and privacy. Ofcom will oversee and enforce the new regime and will be responsible for publishing codes of practice to set out recommendations with which businesses can comply to fulfil their duties. The Bill will be subject to pre-legislative scrutiny by a joint committee of MPs before being formally introduced to Parliament later this year, so businesses should now consider the Bill’s contents, engage with the committee and prepare for the new framework.

4 October 2021 - On 22 September, the UK government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) announced its long-awaited National AI Strategy. The strategy paper sets out the government’s intended 10-year agenda for making the UK a “global AI superpower” and includes an acknowledgment of the need to introduce new legislation in order to regulate AI technologies.

21 October - HMT has today published its much-anticipated consultation on regulating the Buy-Now-Pay-Later (BNPL) credit market, following the Woolard Review recommendation that all BNPL products are brought within the regulatory perimeter “as a matter of urgency”. Based on the government’s view that the main drivers of potential consumer detriment are less pronounced for “short-term (eg 12 months+) interest-free credit” than in the rapidly expanding “BNPL” (low value, very short-term) market, the Treasury is not proposing to remove the fixed sum exemption under the RAO entirely but to limit it so as to regulate “BNPL” only. Exactly where the regulatory line will be drawn is, however, still to be confirmed. For now it appears that retailers are likely to be largely excluded from regulation, and lending will be subject to relatively light-touch “proportionate” regulation, but lenders may be concerned at the potential cost of FOS jurisdiction and the non-compliance sanctions for breach of CCA post-contract requirements.

26 February - The past six months for me have been exciting and inspirational. I had the privilege of coordinating, together with Dr Kay Swinburne (KPMG), the policy and regulation chapter of Ron Kalifa OBE's report on the UK's Fintech Strategic Review. Stakeholders across the board engaged with us enthusiastically, demonstrating their resolution to help the UK maintain its eminent position as global hub on the fintech stage.



Authored by Charles Brasted.


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