Law

Definition

The relevant legal duties, rights and processes that should be applied to projects, programmes and portfolios.

General

P3 managers must operate within the law and have an awareness of the legal systems in the jurisdictions in which they operate. Obvious areas of the law that P3 managers must take into account include:

  • health and safety legislation;
  • employment legislation;
  • contract legislation.

In different industry sectors a much wider knowledge may be needed, including environmental or intellectual property law, or the regulatory environment in nuclear or rail work.

In the UK there are essentially two types of law – criminal and civil. In general, P3 managers’ primary concerns will be with the civil law, but some breaches of civil law may constitute a criminal offence. For example, a gross breach of Health and Safety legislation where death of an employee results may give rise to prosecution for the criminal offence of manslaughter.

Civil law is primarily governed by statute, but this is interpreted by the judiciary, so that legal precedents are established through case law. Statute law in the UK is contained in primary legislation enacted by Parliament, and in secondary legislation (statutory instruments).

Most UK legislation is subject to the overriding authority of the European Parliament and the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR). This affects many areas of relevance to P3 managers, for example, the Working Time Directive or the consolidated directive on public procurement.

Failure to comply with the civil law may result in punitive fines and compensation for any injured parties.

UK law governs England and Wales, and Northern Ireland law governs Northern Ireland. Scotland has its own jurisdiction, legislation and terminology. Although there is wide overlap, there are some fundamental differences particularly in relation to property and contract law.

It is fairly obvious that a project or programme being undertaken in a particular country will be subject to the legal jurisdiction of that country. But in a world of outsourced projects, joint ventures, and virtual teams, the legal environment can be extremely complex and jurisdiction may not be as obvious as it seems. In all these circumstances the P3 manager must have sufficient knowledge to call on, and act on, expert advice.

 

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