Managing business continuity

The worldwide spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) has increasingly become the main concern of nations and people globally.   As the situation continues to develop and the Government provides further guidance, businesses will need to assess what this means for them.

On this page, we address the legal challenges businesses are facing and provide practical tips and legal advice to help mitigate the impact of the virus.

Government support 

The government has announced financial assistance packages for UK businesses to support them and mitigate the impact of coronavirus.   Find out details of these benefits for all sectors.

Read more here. 

Contractual agreements

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.

Click here to read more. 

Has your firm placed an order for goods but they haven’t been delivered by the agreed date?  Or has a deadline for making a payment to your company under an on-going contract been missed?  These are common scenarios but before deciding whether to wait a bit longer or to try and cancel the contract on the basis of delay, one important matter to consider is whether time is ‘of the essence’ (‘OTE’) for that obligation.

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We’re often asked by clients whether heads of terms or letters of intent they’ve already agreed with another party are binding.  This ultimately comes down to what has been agreed, what the parties’ intentions were and whether the terms are sufficiently certain to be legally enforceable.

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The effects of the current pandemic on construction projects put us in an unprecedented situation, so whilst we summarise below the general principles that are likely to apply under a standard JCT contract, it is unfamiliar territory and will likely lead to some novel situations. 

Read more here.

Property

With COVID-19 likely to impact on every aspect of the UK economy over the next few weeks and months, we consider the potential issues for commercial landlords and property investors. In particular, what happens to the liabilities under a lease if the tenant is forced to close their premises or if a landlord is required to close a multi-let building, business park, shopping centre or retail park?

Read more here.

Cripps Pemberton Greenish and leading tenant advisor DeVono Cresa have co-authored this paper to highlight the material disconnect between legal obligations contained in leases and the current extreme circumstances we are facing. 

Read more here.

Tenants are already considering their options and with the March quarter day around the corner, are raising enquiries as to whether they can withhold the rent or terminate their leases in the event they are forced to close.

Read more here.

Data protection

The spread of coronavirus cases is resulting in a greater focus being placed on people’s health status and travel arrangements.  Whilst it is prudent for businesses, schools, leisure providers and other organisations to gather information to ascertain whether employees, pupils, visitors or contractors pose a heightened health risk, the accumulation of personal data (particularly data relating to health and medical issues) poses a number of legal issues.

Read more here.

Financial difficulties

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.

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.

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As the details of the Government’s measures to support businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak emerge, we look at the options which employers have to ride through these turbulent times with the objective of avoiding the last resort of redundancy dismissals.

Ciick here to read more.

Corporate finance

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.

Corporate Governance 

As companies throughout the UK face the unprecedented challenges caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, on 20 March it was announced that discretion will be applied to the application of certain of the AIM Rules for Companies and the AIM Rules for Nominated Advisers (AIM Rules). These are temporary measures being implemented to support both AIM companies and nominated advisers.

Read more here.

Now, more than ever, it is critical that companies focus on good governance.  Reasoned, and recorded, decision making is important. 

Read more here.

Remote working

In reaction to the increasing number of coronavirus cases, many businesses are closing their offices or reducing their onsite staffing and requesting their employees work from home.   Read more to understand key issues when implementing remote working arrangements. 

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With the outbreak of Coronavirus- Covid-19, more employees than ever are now working from home for the foreseeable future. For many this will be a new method of working that will fast become the norm. It is key during this uncertain time that businesses continue to operate as normally as possible.

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