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Environmental and Regulatory Law

Environmental and regulatory compliance issues are now part of everyday life for most businesses, be they engaged in evidently hazardous activities or not.

Likewise, developments in the climate change arena are raising new challenges for the business community. Regulatory demands, however, continue to widen in response to increasingly international environmental, human rights and trade concerns and present more and more compliance issues affecting both processes and products, as well as liability issues in business transactions. To steer successfully through this regulatory jungle requires specialist expertise on a global scale.

Allen & Overy’s Global Environmental and Regulatory Law Group includes more than 60 specialist, commercially focused environmental and regulatory law experts across the world advising on all aspects of environmental, product and trade law and liability. As one of the first law firms to develop a globally integrated environmental law practice, Allen & Overy is able to provide both transactional and stand alone advice in all the major areas of environmental and health and safety law at national, regional and international levels. We have long-standing expertise in a wide range of regulatory issues affecting our clients’ supply chains and the movement of our clients’ products around the World. We also regularly advise clients on the management of cross-border due diligence and on contractual negotiations in relation to major international acquisitions, disposals and infrastructure projects.

Our geographic reach, including the transfer of knowledge between different offices and jurisdictions, means that we are able to keep abreast of the latest environmental initiatives and legislative developments occurring around the globe. We closely track environmental policy, climate change and trade policy and regulatory developments and are in regular contact with policy makers and regulators whose work impacts our clients' interests. In addition to expertise in Allen & Overy’s own offices, by virtue of our network of specialist local firms in other jurisdictions, we can also ensure that you get high quality environmental and regulatory advice wherever in the world you need it.

With a mass of new and changing legislation in this area, the boardroom has never had so much reason to pay attention to human rights and other regulatory issues. SEC and new EU reporting requirements (and their global equivalents) on environmental issues, including obligations to report on environmental proceedings, impacts and standards in annual reports and on non-compliance more generally authorities, are just a couple of examples.

Allen & Overy’s environmental and regulatory law experts advise on all types of disclosure requirements and associated problems, such as commercial confidentiality. Whether the issue of disclosure arises in respect of a statutory or permit based obligation, as a result of a request from a regulator, or even under pressure from interested stakeholders, Allen & Overy’s sector specific knowledge helps clients grappling with the legal and commercial implications, particularly in relation to business sensitive matters.

The ability to obtain information from Government and public bodies which may concern your business or the business of others is both a positive and negative development. We can advise on exactly what "freedom of access to information" might mean for you, and how defences, like commercial confidentiality and national security, come into play.

News & insights

Publications: 27 JANUARY 2020

Updated Equator Principles Finalized

Updated Equator Principles with stronger standards and a broader scope were finalized in November 2019 and are set to come into effect in July 2020. 

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Trees and sky

Publications: 09 JANUARY 2020

European environmental law and policy: What’s in store for 2020?

The start of a New Year is a good time to take stock as to what we can expect in European environmental law and policy over the next 12 months. Unlike previous years, 2020 is already shaping up to be a momentous year at both a European and member state level particularly as regards climate change. 

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Publications: 17 DECEMBER 2019

European Green Deal: roadmap to a climate neutral Europe

On 11 December 2019, the new European Commission announced its much-awaited European Green Deal (EGD)1, which sets out a wide range of major policy and legislative proposals to transition Europe to be ‘climate neutral’ by 2050. 

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Publications: 29 NOVEMBER 2019

Distorting mirrors: UK sanctions and Brexit

The UK’s various sanctions regimes are currently very strongly correlated, although not completely aligned, with those of the EU. This position arises, in part, from the direct applicability of certain EU laws within EU Member States (e.g. via EU regulations). Much of this EU law would cease to apply within the UK should the UK leave the EU without any new agreement being established to govern the future EU-UK relationship.

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