Navigating your business through the current crisis

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.

Utilising Government support 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) support is available to employers and the self-employed.  

Find out details of these benefits here. 

 

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

Read more here.

All sectors

On Friday 20th March the Chancellor announced a new Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which is intended to support businesses through the Coronavirus crisis by underwriting the employment costs for the employees they would otherwise need to make redundant or to lay off temporarily without pay.   Click here to read more. 

With the eagerly awaited Coronavirus Self-employment Income Support Scheme being 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.

Contractual agreements

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has followed the Opinion issued by the Advocate General at the end of last year and declared that the model Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs) (also known as model clauses) are valid. 

Read more.

On 25 May 2020, the Prime Minister announced that the forced closure of non-essential shops will end on 15 June 2020. For retail and commercial tenants that remain affected by the pandemic, it will be more difficult (but not impossible) to request a rent suspension.

Read more here.

The Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) has published its views on consumers’ rights in connection with contracts affected by the coronavirus.

This guidance will be of particular interest to businesses in the travel, leisure and childcare sectors but will affect any business which has a consumer contract which cannot be performed as a result of the coronavirus.

Read more here.

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.

Click here to read more. 

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.

Click here to read more. 

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  impacting on every aspect of the UK economy, 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.

Mitigating financial loss

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.

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.

COVID-19 has resulted in the UK economy going into such a state of shock that most businesses have been enduring significant losses with almost no warning and without knowing when a level of normality will return.

Read more here. 

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.

Read more here

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.

Whilst we are hopeful that the furlough scheme will be extended (in some form), or a new but similar type of scheme introduced, there are still going to be many employers who will have no other option but to reduce costs by implementing redundancies. This will trigger individual and possibly collective consultation obligations.

Read more

In a measure designed to allow companies to raise capital more easily during the current crisis, on 1 April 2020, the Pre-Emption Group (PEG) announced a temporary relaxation of its principles in relation to the disapplication of pre-emption rights. 

Read more here.

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.