• At Kemp Little, we are known for our ability to serve the very particular needs of a large but diverse technology client base. Our hands-on industry know-how makes us a good fit with many of the world's biggest technology and digital media businesses, yet means we are equally relevant to companies with a technology bias, in sectors such as professional services, financial services, retail, travel and healthcare.
  • Kemp Little specialises in the technology and digital media sectors and provides a range of legal services that are crucial to fast-moving, innovative businesses.Our blend of sector awareness, technical excellence and responsiveness, means we are regularly ranked as a leading firm by directories such as Legal 500, Chambers and PLC Which Lawyer. Our practice areas cover a wide range of legal issues and advice.
  • Our Commercial Technology team has established itself as one of the strongest in the UK. We are ranked in Legal 500, Chambers & Partners and PLC Which Lawyer, with four of our partners recommended.
  • Our team provides practical and commercial advice founded on years of experience and technical know-how to technology and digital media companies that need to be alert to the rules and regulations of competition law.
  • Our Corporate Practice has a reputation for delivering sound legal advice, backed up with extensive industry experience and credentials, to get the best results from technology and digital media transactions.
  • In the fast-changing world of employment law our clients need practical, commercial and cost-effective advice. They get this from our team of employment law professionals.
  • Our team of leading IP advisors deliver cost-effective, strategic and commercial advice to ensure that your IP assets are protected and leveraged to add real value to your business.
  • Our litigation practice advises on all aspects of dispute resolution, with a particular focus on ownership, exploitation and infringement of intellectual property rights and commercial disputes in the technology sector.
  • We have an industry-leading reputation for our outsourcing expertise. Our professionals deliver credible legal advice to providers and acquirers of IT and business process outsourcing (BPO) services.
  • We work alongside companies, many with disruptive technologies, that seek funding, as well as with the venture capital firms, institutional investors and corporate ventures that want to invest in exciting business opportunities.
  • Our regulatory specialists work alongside Kemp Little’s corporate and commercial professionals to help meet their compliance obligations.
  • With a service that is commercial and responsive to our clients’ needs, you will find our tax advice easy to understand, cost-effective and geared towards maximising your tax benefits.
  • At Kemp Little, we advise clients in diverse sectors where technology is fundamental to the ongoing success of their businesses.They include companies that provide technology as a service and businesses where the use of technology is key to their business model, enabling them to bring their product or service to market.
  • We bring our commercial understanding of digital business models, our legal expertise and our reputation for delivering high quality, cost-effective services to this dynamic sector.
  • Acting for market leaders and market changers within the media industry, we combine in-depth knowledge of the structural technology that underpins content delivery and the impact of digitisation on the rights of producers and consumers.
  • We understand the risks facing this sector and work with our clients to conquer those challenges. Testimony to our success is the continued growth in our team of professionals and the clients we serve.
  • We advise at the forefront of the technological intersection between life sciences and healthcare. We advise leading technology and data analytics providers, healthcare institutions as well as manufacturers of medical devices, pharmaceuticals and biotechnological products.
  • For clients operating in the online sector, our teams are structured to meet their commercial, financing, M&A, competition and regulatory, employment and intellectual property legal needs.
  • Our focus on technology makes us especially well positioned to give advice on the legal aspects of digital marketing. We advise on high-profile, multi-channel, cross-border cases and on highly complex campaigns.
  • The mobile and telecoms sector is fast changing and hugely dependent on technology advances. We help mobile and wireless and fixed telecoms clients to tackle the legal challenges that this evolving sector presents.
  • Whether ERP, Linux or Windows; software or infrastructure as a service in the cloud, in a virtualised environment, or as a mobile or service-oriented architecture, we have the experience to resolve legal issues across the spectrum of commercial computer platforms.
  • Our clients trust us to apply our solutions and know-how to help them make the best use of technology in structuring deals, mitigating key risks to their businesses and in achieving their commercial objectives.
  • We have extensive experience of advising customers and suppliers in the retail sector on technology development, licensing and supply projects, and in advising on all aspects of procurement and online operations.
  • Our legal professionals work alongside social media providers and users in relation to the commercial, privacy, data, advertising, intellectual property, employment and corporate issues that arise in this dynamic sector.
  • Our years of working alongside diverse software clients have given us an in-depth understanding of the dynamics of the software marketplace, market practice and alternative negotiating strategies.
  • Working with direct providers of travel services, including aggregators, facilitators and suppliers of transport and technology, our team has developed a unique specialist knowledge of the sector
  • Your life as an entrepreneur is full of daily challenges as you seek to grow your business. One of the key strengths of our firm is that we understand these challenges.
  • Kemp Little is trusted by some of the world’s leading luxury brands and some of the most innovative e-commerce retailers changing the face of the industry.
  • HR Bytes is an exclusive, comprehensive, online service that will provide you with a wide range of practical, insightful and current employment law information. HR Bytes members get priority booking for events, key insight and a range of employment materials for free.
  • FlightDeck is our portal designed especially with start-up and emerging technology businesses in mind to help you get your business up and running in the right way. We provide a free pack of all the things no-one tells you and things they don’t give away to get you started.

Driverless car regulation: UK attempts to overtake rivals

In March 2016 the Chancellor announced that driverless cars will be allowed on UK roads by the year 2020, in a sign that the government continues to strongly support the technology.[1]

The government’s announcement follows the increasing prominence of driverless cars in the media in recent years, with Gartner (a leading technology research and advisory company) describing 2015 as the peak of the driverless car “hype cycle”, as the battle between established car manufacturers and technology companies intensified to produce “driverless” or “fully automated” cars.[2] 

Google, perhaps most famously, has led the charge in the development of driverless cars, which are being heralded for their potential to improve road safety and reduce emissions and congestion.  At the end of 2014, Google unveiled its prototype[3] which it plans for public sale in 2020.[4]  More recently, Tesla announced the release of its Autopilot software (an advanced cruise control system) and Ford began testing its prototype on private roads.[5]  At the beginning of 2016 a number of other major car manufacturers, such as Toyota, Nissan-Renault, Audi and Volvo, each announced their plans to introduce driverless cars.[6]

With leading technology companies pioneering driverless systems, and the concept of driverless cars backed by established players in the automotive industry, it seems likely that driverless cars (or at least other advanced, new, driverless technologies) will be publicly available within the next few years. Although the government has announced its aim to see driverless cars on the roads by 2020, have lawmakers and regulators moved quickly enough to match the pace of innovation?

In February 2015 the UK’s Department for Transport (DfT) published The Pathway to Driverless Cars (Summary report and action plan)[7] setting out the government’s plan to update UK laws and regulations to permit the sale of driverless cars to the public.  The government’s publication is a signal to the technology and automotive industries that the UK welcomes the development of driverless technology and encourages car manufacturers to establish their testing and manufacturing operations in the UK.

In the Summary report and action plan the government confirmed that the testing of driverless cars is legal in the UK and in July 2015 released The Pathway to Driverless Cars: A Code of Practice for testing.  The Code of Practice prescribes a road safety framework under which such technology should be tested (the “Code”).[8]

The Code emphasises the importance of safety on public roads and, prior to this, the testing of the technology on the test track.  Although most of the Code is not mandatory, instead setting out new guidelines specific to driverless cars, it does require that driverless cars comply existing road traffic laws (such as those covering the licensing of drivers and the road worthiness of vehicles).

For more information on developments in driverless technology regulation, please see our recent article on the Government’s proposal to require insurers to compensate the victims of driverless cars . You can also access our whitepaper here.

[1] http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/google-driverless-cars-george-osborne-budget-uk-roads-2020-a6926736.html

[2] http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/3114217

[3] http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_27190285/googles-goofy-new-self-driving-car-sign-things

[4] http://www.ibtimes.com/google-inc-says-self-driving-car-will-be-ready-2020-1784150

[5] http://jalopnik.com/ford-is-now-testing-driverless-cars-on-the-streets-of-a-1742535477

[6] http://www.marketwatch.com/story/renault-nissan-gives-details-on-driverless-vehicle-plan-2016-01-07

[7] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/401562/pathway-driverless-cars-summary.pdf

[8] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/446316/pathway-driverless-cars.pdf


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Calum Murray