Legal Registers: An Industry Perspective by Nicolai Massyn, President & CEO of Ariscu

5 minute read

What is a legal register?

A legal register is a summary of the legal obligations that apply to an organization. It is usually organized by discipline such as an environmental legal register or a health and safety legal register.

The original concept was a response to some of the requirements contained in the first ISO 14001:2004 management standard. ISO 14001 requires organizations to have access to the legal obligations that relate to their operation’s environmental risks. Consultants responded by creating repositories of these legal obligations, however, the contents came from many different pieces of legislation that differed completely between countries and regions. Most countries’ environmental and health and safety legislation was and still is, very fragmented. One may find multiple pieces of legislation covering different aspects of the same topics in different pieces of legislation. It is therefore not an easy task to curate this content or legal registers in a structured logical manner.

What is a legal register solution?

A legal register solution is hosted in many different ways. In order of sophistication some of the options would be:

  • Basic paper copies stored in a physical file
  • Electronic documents on a shared drive
  • A cloud system

Cloud systems are more expensive than the other options, but they are also the most sustainable. These systems can either be a stand-alone product dedicated to managing legal content that is updated as legislation changes, or as part of a more integrated GRC and SHEQ management system. These integrated systems usually provide tools and mechanisms to link the different legal obligations to the organizational risks and operations, and some can also perform self-audits to determine compliance with the legal obligations.

How do I select a legal register solution? What should I be looking for?

Deciding on a service provider and solution requires thought and attention. The factors that would impact the decision would be the size of the organization, the maturity level of its management systems, its risk tolerance level and its budget.

Ask yourself the following questions while evaluating legal register solutions:

  1. What disciplines do I need the legal registers for?
  2. What jurisdictions do I need the legal registers for?
  3. Do I need the registers to be made site-specific?
  4. How many employees do I want to provide access to it?
  5. How often do I want the content updated and do I want that to be automated?
  6. Do I require access to audit questions or protocols?
  7. Would I need the tools available on a mobile device?
  8. Do I need the audit questions to be available with off-line functionality?
  9. Do I need a stand-alone legal compliance management system; do I need it to integrate with another system; or do I require a fully integrated GRC and SHEQ Management System with the legal component embedded in the platform?
  10. Do I require reporting or analytics relating to legal compliance and audit results?

Legal Compliance and Implications for a Management System

It is imperative for organizations using management systems to align the system and their standard operating procedures (SOP’s) with their related legal obligations. As part of proper implementation, employees need to undergo basic legal compliance training and stay informed of legislative changes. These employees must also be kept up to date on changes to organizational policies and SOP’s to ensure alignment with legislative requirements.

Ready to get started with a leading solution?

Ariscu's legal register allows you to view relevant pieces of legislation for many countries with simple summaries and corresponding audit questions. Request a demo to get started today.
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FAQ Summary

What is a legal register?

A legal register is a summary of the legal obligations that apply to an organization. It is usually organized by discipline such as an environmental legal register or a health and safety legal register. The original concept was a response to some of the requirements contained in the first ISO 14001:2004 management standard.

What is a legal register solution?

The three most common types of legal register solutions are:
– basic paper copies in a physical file
– electronic documents on a shared drive
– a cloud system

Cloud systems are the more expensive than the other options, but they are also the most sustainable, flexible and robust.

What are the top 10 considerations for a legal register?

1. What disciplines do I need the legal registers for?
2. What jurisdictions do I need the legal registers for?
3. Do I need the registers to be made site-specific?
4. How many employees do I want to provide access to it?
5. How often do I want the content updated and do I want that to be automated?
6. Do I require access to audit questions or protocols?
7. Would I need the tools available on a mobile device?
8. Do I need the audit questions to be available with off-line functionality?
9. Do I need a stand-alone legal compliance management system; do I need it to integrate with another system; or do I require a fully integrated GRC and SHEQ Management System with the legal component embedded in the platform?
10. Do I require reporting or analytics relating to legal compliance and audit results?