Operations

Stage 1 – Crisis management

What to do if your contractor becomes insolvent

The effects of the Coronavirus on businesses will likely see those already struggling pushed into greater financial difficulties, and potentially insolvency. 

We set out some actions you may want to consider if a contractor or supplier’s position is giving you cause for concern. Read more here. 

 

Restrictions on rights to terminate for customer insolvency

On 26 June 2020, the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 (CIGA 2020) significantly restricted suppliers’ rights to terminate or suspend their contracts with insolvent customers. The changes mean that some very common clauses are now unenforceable. The new law needs to be kept in mind when negotiating new contracts, as well as when enforcing or managing existing contracts.  Read more here. 

 

Issues with supply chain and invoking force majeure clauses

Coronavirus is causing disruption to international travel and shipments. Levels of consumer spending, production and investment are also down, due to virus-related risks. All of these factors adversely impact supply chains, which can result in businesses being unable to fulfil their contractual obligations.  Read more here.

Financial support packages

Coronavirus (COVID-19) support is available to employers and the self-employed.  Find out details of these benefits here. 

 

The Future Fund

The Government will lend up to an initial amount of £250 million as unsecured convertible bridge funding to UK-based companies. This Future Fund is available in partnership with the British Business Bank (the government owned business development bank dedicated to smaller businesses).  Read more here.

 

Self-employed Income Support Scheme – what does it mean for me?

With the Coronavirus Self-employment Income Support Scheme  announced by the Chancellor on 26 March 2020, we look into the details as to how the scheme is going to provide for the estimated 5 million self-employed individuals across the UK.  Read more here. 

 

Extended relief for businesses as COVID-19 cases continue to increase

On 24 September 2020, the Government announced the extension of several measures to continue to support businesses through the ongoing COVID19 pandemic.  Read more here

New restructuring process for companies in financial difficulty

The Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill introduces a new restructuring process, building on the current scheme of arrangement regime contained in the Companies Act 2006. Read more here. 

 

What to do if your business is struggling financially

You may be concerned about the effects that Coronavirus may have on your cashflow and ability to pay your debts, whether this is HMRC, employees or suppliers.  It may also impact your ability to perform your obligations under customer contracts.

These practical tips have been put together to help you navigate the unsettled weeks and months that are now upon us, and we hope that you find them useful.  Read more here

Stage 2 – Stabilisation

Business interruption insurance

Many businesses have been surprised to find that their policies won’t cover business interruption losses caused by having to close the workplace as a result of COVID-19 lockdown measures.  Read more here.

 

Deciding if ‘time is of the essence’

If time is OTE for a contractual obligation in a commercial contract this means the deadline is a condition of the contract, rather than merely a term, entitling you to terminate the contract (but not obliging you to) even if the deadline is missed by the other party by only a narrow margin.  Read more here.

 

Are heads of terms legally binding?

Heads of terms (also known as letters of intent) are usually entered into when parties are not yet in a position to sign a detailed contract.  They can be used to set out the parties’ agreement in principle on the key commercial issues at an early stage of a transaction and are not intended to be binding.  Read more here.

Impact on corporate finance arrangements

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is already having a significant impact on the hospitality, leisure and tourism industry. But with travel restrictions, supply chain interruptions and office closures, businesses in almost every sector could be affected. CFOs need to carefully manage any financial arrangements, be aware of their reporting obligations and understand how lenders will respond to events of default and material adverse change. These issues also translate into concerns for the lenders.  Read more here.

 

Suspension of liability for wrongful trading

In the ordinary course, a director has a duty to act in the best interests of the company’s shareholders; or as the Companies Act says, he must act in the way he considers in good faith would be most likely to promote the success of the company for the benefit of its members as a whole.  In order to a turn a profit for the shareholders, a director may be expected to take some level of risk with the company’s assets.  Read more here. 

Stage 3 – Recovery

Renegotiating commercial contracts

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve. The government’s advice and measures to protect the public and manage the impact on the economy are changing frequently and this is creating new challenges for parties trying to navigate commercial supply and service relationships and interpret commercial contracts in the light of these unexpected times. Read more here.

Stage 4 – Resilience

Contractual agreements

A number of different types of commercial contracts are likely to be impacted by Brexit including long term supply contracts and contracts that have UK-EU ramifications.  Read more here.

 

Data protection

Whether we end up with a trade deal which leaves us following EU law as closely as possible in this area or no-deal at all, most of the rules around data protection will stay the same because the main EU data protection regulations (being the ePrivacy Directive (2002/58/EC)) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)) have already been largely implemented in the UK by the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 (PECR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 and the UK government has made it clear that it intends to maintain the standards set by the GDPR after the end of the Transition Period.  Read more here.

 

Employment

There are a number of different ways in which Brexit may impact workplaces and workforces, from the framework of employment law to the implications of employing EU residents and practicalities on conducting business in Europe. Read more here.

 

Intellectual property

The laws surrounding intellectual property is one area which will definitely be affected by Brexit, whatever the shape of the eventual trade deal post Transition, as protection of IP at a pan-European level has been an area of legislative activity for the EU for some time. Read more here.

 

Supply chains

Whatever shape Brexit eventually takes, businesses importing or exporting goods to and from the UK and the remaining EU member states will need to prepare for changes to borders, tariffs, customs and VAT.  Some changes have happened already following the UK’s legal departure from the EU, such as the need to make customs declarations. Read more here.

Stage 5 – Growth

Investing in cross-industry technology collaborations

Technology has been revolutionising the way that we live and work for decades but the Covid-19 pandemic has emphasised to businesses large and small the criticality of tech to enable remote working, business agility and digital customer engagement.  Read more here.