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United Kingdom

As a business operating in today’s increasingly regulated markets, you need to manage your commercial risk while achieving your business objectives. Your success is built upon the effectiveness and robustness of your relationships with third parties, whether they are your customers, suppliers or intermediaries. Contractual arrangements attuned to the sectors and markets in which you operate are key.

Whether you require advice on supply arrangements, services agreements, technology or telecommunications contracts, IP licensing, manufacturing agreements, consumer arrangements, software licensing, outsourcing or any other bespoke commercial arrangement, our specialists can guide you towards the best business outcome for you.

We are market-leading practitioners, and have shaped many of the landmark deals in the various sectors which we serve. This means that we do not simply counsel our clients on how to paper their transactions, but work with them from the start to come up with the structure which is most effective for them, and share with them our experience of the many other deals we have executed.

Our commercial lawyers also benefit from the support of colleagues expert in complementary legal areas. Tax lawyers ensure that contracts are tax-efficient and that any liability is properly allocated between the parties. Competition law specialists enable contracts to exploit rights or distribute products as effectively as possible, within the constraints of an ever-changing legal and regulatory framework.

We don't distinguish "legal points" and "commercial points". If an issue is relevant to the deal we are working on then we will understand it and help our clients to resolve it. We also understand that contracts are important for our clients, and time-pressured. Our clients don't need to explain to us that something is urgent or critical; we know already.

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CMS stands out for its global reach and sector focus. The 'can do' team has a 'great understanding of the legal position, the deal, the commercial reality and the regulatory framework'.

Legal 500 UK, 2015

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    Advertising, Marketing & Sponsorship

    Working to raise your businesses’ profile is an exciting place to be, and as you work with your in-house marketing team or creative agency to develop your advertising, marketing and sponsorship strategies, it is also important to consider all the legal and regulatory requirements, including those for the industry in which you work.   

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    Commercial Contracts

    Commercial contracts are the fundamental basis upon which any business develops and grows. Getting it wrong can have serious consequences for your business. Whether the agreements relevant to your business concern the procurement or the supply of goods, technology, information or services, or your business processes such as licensing, distribution, agency and resale, you will need legal advisers who understand your commercial imperatives and can deliver results efficiently and cost-effectively based on market knowledge and experience.

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    Data Protection & Freedom of Information

    The EU data protection landscape is shifting with a radical new regulatory framework on the horizon. Our global data protection expertise allows us to handle the very largest and most complex multi-jurisdictional matters. 

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    Health & Safety

    Health & Safety is of paramount importance to all businesses. As an increasingly regulated area, every employer must comply with health and safety rules to protect employees, contractors, visitors and the general public. These regulations also put responsibility on all employees, so it is vital that everyone is aware of the relevant legislation.

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    Many organisations look to outsource business functions to help drive their business’ growth, achieve quality improvements, increase efficiency and manage costs. The decision to outsource elements of a business is often complex - finding the right service provider, ensuring the right set up, contracting for appropriate performance incentives and ensuring good governance are just a few of the considerations.

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    Law-Now: Com­mer­cial


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    The Data Pro­tec­tion Bill: a state­ment of in­tent
    On 7 Au­gust, the UK gov­ern­ment re­leased its state­ment of in­tent, which set out its pro­pos­als for a Data Pro­tec­tion Bill (the “Bill”) to re­place the Data Pro­tec­tion Act 1998 (“DPA”) and “bring data pro­tec­tion laws in the UK up to date”.
    Fire Safety Con­sid­er­a­tions for Uni­versit­ies
    Fire safety is­sues are front of mind for own­ers of multi-oc­cu­pied res­id­en­tial build­ings fol­low­ing the Gren­fell Tower tragedy.   There is ob­vi­ously wide­spread shock that such an in­cid­ent could oc­cur, giv­en the UK’s highly reg­u­lated build­ing stand­ards re­gime.
    Ad­voc­ate-Gen­er­al sub­mits opin­ion sup­port­ing on­line sales re­stric­tions
    Ad­voc­ate-Gen­er­al (AG) Wahl sub­mit­ted a non-bind­ing opin­ion to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) that lux­ury brand sup­pli­ers should have the right to choose who sells their products and how their products are sold in or­der to pro­tect their im­age and ex­clus­iv­ity.
    Data pro­tec­tion and ex­ams: does an ex­am script con­sti­tute per­son­al...
    Ad­voc­ate Gen­er­al Kokott (“AG”) of the Court of Justice of the European Uni­on (“CJEU”) has re­cently de­livered an Opin­ion, in Case C-434/16 Peter Nowak v Data Pro­tec­tion Com­mis­sion­er, that states that a hand­writ­ten ex­am script, cap­able of be­ing at­trib­uted to.
    Ro­bot­ic pro­cess auto­ma­tion - un­der­stand­ing the leg­al is­sues
    Quite simply, Ro­bot­ic Pro­cess Auto­ma­tion (RPA) is soft­ware which mim­ics and re­places com­puter fa­cing work which is or can be done by hu­mans. Think of it is a “di­git­al work­force”. RPA is be­com­ing pop­u­lar and is see­ing huge growth; par­tic­u­larly in or­gan­isa­tions.
    No priv­ilege against em­ploy­er over per­son­al doc­u­ments on em­ploy­er’s...
    A prop­erty de­vel­op­ment com­pany has suc­cess­fully res­isted an ap­plic­a­tion by its former Group Fin­ance Dir­ect­or to re­strain use of per­son­al doc­u­ments on the grounds of leg­al pro­fes­sion­al priv­ilege. The High Court held that the dir­ect­or was not able to as­sert priv­ilege.
    FCA launches in­vest­ment plat­forms mar­ket study
    Earli­er this week the FCA pub­lished the Terms of Ref­er­ence (ToR) for its In­vest­ment Plat­forms Mar­ket Study.   The ToR set out the spe­cif­ic areas the FCA is in­ter­ested in ex­plor­ing, in­clud­ing: the im­pact plat­forms have on over­all charges for in­vest­ment products;.
    Min­im­um pri­cing for al­co­hol chal­lenge to be heard by UK Su­preme Court...
    On Monday and Tues­day next week, 24-25 Ju­ly 2017, the UK Su­preme Court will hear the much an­ti­cip­ated ap­peal brought by the Scotch Whisky As­so­ci­ation, spir­it­sEUROPE and CEEV against the Scot­tish Min­is­ters, re­gard­ing their plans to in­tro­duce min­im­um pri­cing.
    Re­sponses to the European Com­mis­sion con­sulta­tion on FinTech: com­mon...
    The European Com­mis­sion (the “EC”) has pub­lished the re­sponses to its pub­lic con­sulta­tion on FinTech (we ori­gin­ally re­por­ted on the con­sulta­tion on 23 March 2017). A total of 226 re­sponses were re­ceived from a num­ber of or­gan­isa­tions span­ning sev­er­al sec­tors.
    Ju­di­cial Re­view: Per­mis­sion ap­peals must be made to the Court of Ap­peal
    The High Court con­sidered wheth­er, after it had re­fused per­mis­sion to ap­ply for ju­di­cial re­view (“JR Per­mis­sion”) fol­low­ing a hear­ing: (i) it also had the power to de­term­ine an ap­plic­a­tion for per­mis­sion to ap­peal against that de­cision, or (ii) the only course.
    The New Fla­menco – Su­preme Court al­lows own­ers’ ap­peal
    The Su­preme Court, on 28 June 2017, found in fa­vour of the own­ers in the long-awaited “New Fla­menco” judg­ment - Glob­alia Busi­ness Travel S. A. U. (formerly Travel­Plan S. A. U. ) of Spain v Fulton Ship­ping Inc of Panama.
    CJEU rules Hun­gari­an gambling li­cens­ing re­gime in­com­pat­ible with EU...
    The Court of Justice for the European Uni­on (CJEU) has ruled that Hun­gary’s li­cens­ing frame­work for on­line gambling placed overly re­strict­ive and un­fair con­di­tions on op­er­at­ors from oth­er European Uni­on coun­tries look­ing to enter the mar­ket.
    Im­ports of or­gan­ic products now sub­ject to EU elec­tron­ic cer­ti­fic­a­tion...
    From 19 Oc­to­ber 2017, use of the elec­tron­ic Trade Con­trol and Ex­pert Sys­tem (“TRACES”) will be­come man­dat­ory for all im­port­ers of or­gan­ic products from out­side of the EU. Or­gan­ic im­ports may only be placed on the European Single Mar­ket if they are covered by.
    Brexit one year on: The CMA and com­pet­i­tion
    The land­scape in which the Com­pet­i­tion and Mar­kets Au­thor­ity finds it­self post-Brexit will of course de­pend largely on the out­come of the Brexit ne­go­ti­ations, which form­ally com­menced on Monday. However, in or­der to ad­dress any res­ult­ing ‘en­force­ment gap’ in.
    Brexit one year on: The cre­at­ive eco­nomy
    In the im­me­di­ate af­ter­math of the Brexit vote last year, we pub­lished our ini­tial re­ac­tions an­ti­cip­at­ing the pos­sible im­pact on, in par­tic­u­lar, the au­di­ovisu­al in­dus­tries.   We now take stock of what has happened since and, while the situ­ation re­mains very un­cer­tain,.
    The Ver­dict - Round-up of cor­por­ate crime de­vel­op­ments across CMS
    We are pleased to send our new is­sue of The Ver­dict, an at-a-glance round-up of re­cent leg­al de­vel­op­ments in re­la­tion to cor­por­ate crime. In this is­sue, the spot­light is on some sig­ni­fic­ant changes to anti-cor­rup­tion laws in the Czech Re­pub­lic, in­clud­ing.
    Oil and Gas: Left with no “op­tion” des­pite “best ef­forts”
    In Teekay Tankers Ltd v STX Off­shore Ltd [2017] EWHC 253 (Comm) the Com­mer­cial Court de­cided that an op­tion agree­ment for the con­struc­tion of crude oil tankers was void, as the op­tion agree­ment re­quired the parties to mu­tu­ally agree a de­liv­ery date at a time.
    Brexit Snap­shot – Risks and Mit­ig­a­tion Meas­ures for Con­tract­ors
    On 23rd June 2016, the UK voted to leave the European Uni­on. As busi­nesses come un­der in­creased pres­sure to work out a strategy for deal­ing with the un­cer­tainty ahead, we have con­sidered some of the po­ten­tial risks for Con­tract­ors in the con­struc­tion in­dustry.