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10 Biggest Legal Changes Of The Decade, 2000-2009 (continued)

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[For changes 1-4, read .]

5. Extension of employment rights & protection

The UK employment landscape has changed dramatically over the past decade. 

The Government have introduced a raft of measures to tackle unfair discrimination in the workplace, including new rules to combat , , , and discrimination on the ground of , , and

The Government has also legislated to extend pregnancy and maternity rights, and protect whistleblowers.  And it now plans to improve the .

6. Devolution

It's now over ten years since Westminster devolved powers to the , , and .

The national governments have since enacted a great number of laws and regulations, and devolution has become an established part of the UK landscape.

7. Smoking bans

Virtually all enclosed public places and workplaces in the UK are now smokefree as a result of the smoking bans that went into effect in 2006 and 2007.

People said a smoking ban would never work in the UK, but it's proved a resounding success.

The country now enjoys a much healthier environment, in which everyone can socialise, relax, travel, shop and work free from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke.

8. European integration & expansion

During the noughties, the EU expanded from 15 to 27 members.

And EU citizens are free to travel, live, and work within any other member country.

This has had profound social, economic, and political consequences for hundreds of millions of Europeans across the continent.

9. Civil partnerships

The  allows same-sex couples to make a legal commitment to one another through a statutory civil registration procedure.

Registration grants gay and lesbian couples the including, for example, the right to survivors pension benefits.

The enactment of this legislation was truly historic, particularly if you remember that  homosexuality was still illegal in the UK until the late 1960s.

10. Climate Change Act

The makes the UK the first country in the world to have a legally binding long-term framework to cut carbon emissions.

It sets a legally binding target of at least an 80% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and 34% by 2020.

Achieving these targets will require a fundamental change in the nation's attitude towards energy consumption.

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