Whatever business challenges arise as a result of the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19), we are actively monitoring risks and responses, and are here to help. Key specialist contacts plus some of the key emergent themes we are seeing are provided below. Please get in touch.


Business and legal issues impacting multiple industries:

Commercial contracts
Payment disputes guide >
28 May 2020

We have prepared a Payment Disputes Guide to provide an overview of the key stages relevant to most payment disputes and to signpost some points it will be helpful for clients to consider along the way.

Force Majeure Toolkit > 

The purpose of this ‘toolkit’ is to provide guidance on specific questions that may arise during the Coronavirus crisis in relation to contracts governed by English law, and the points to look out for and consider. It does not constitute legal advice.

Your business frustrated? The Covid-19 tightrope > 
23 March 2020

In the worsening Coronavirus pandemic many contractual commitments will now be difficult, if not impossible, for businesses to fulfil, especially given recent government advice on travel and social distancing. Find out when the effect of frustration applies.


For a rapid response on any other Commercial Contracts issues, get in touch

Nick Ashcroft

 
Nick Ashcroft

Email Nick >

 

Competition
Covid-19 and relaxing competition law - updated 14 May 2020> 
3 April 2020

BEIS and CMA have both signalled a relaxation to competition law, with exemptions and a pragmatic approach to enforcement. But as the CMA says, this is not a "free pass". We have set out the limits on what has been permitted and our views on the care businesses still need to take.


For a rapid response on any other Competition issues, get in touch

Rona Bar-Isaac
 
Rona Bar-Isaact

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CONSTRUCTION & ENGINEERING
AG Webinar: Keep your distance - how social distancing will impact Scottish construction sites >
29 May 2020

AG's construction and health & safety teams in Scotland held a lunchtime webinar exploring these questions by a way of short talks and a Q&A. Please find the recording of the webinar and the slides.

Covid-19 – Construction industry guidance from a health and safety perspective - Part 3
20 April 2020

Build UK have recently published Version 3 of their Site Operating Procedures for dealing with the risk of Coronavirus at construction sites. This is essential reading for anyone in the construction sector. Whilst these procedures are expressed to only apply to England (as it is based on Public Health England guidance) they are likely to be of practical assistance in other UK jurisdictions provided the business carefully checks their own jurisdiction's requirements are not being breached.

CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY GUIDANCE - Health and safety perspective - Part 2 >
1 April 2020

Another brick in the wall?

The latest guidance from the UK Government does not require construction sites or businesses to close but does require that any employer who has staff on site must ensure that employees are able to follow Public Health England guidance. This includes maintaining a 2 metre distance from others and following hygiene advice. Employees are permitted to travel to and from work, but only where the work absolutely cannot be done from home.

CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY GUIDANCE - Health and safety perspective - Part 1 >
25 March 2020

The latest guidance from the UK government does not require construction sites or businesses to close but does require that any employer who has staff on site must ensure that employees are able to follow Public Health England guidance. Read a summary of the key points in this article. 

CONSTRUCTION AND ENGINEERING CONTRACTS - DELAY AND EXPENSE > 
11 MARCH 2020

We are seeing an increasing number of client queries regarding rights and remedies available under construction contracts and, in particular, whether Covid-19 can give rise to an extension of time to completion and/or claims for associated loss and expense. Here we consider the position by reference to two of the most common standard forms – the JCT Design & Build 2016 and NEC4 2017.


For a rapid response on any other Construction & Engineering issues, get in touch

Nancy McGuire
 
Nancy McGuire

Email Nancy >

 

Corporate Governance
Coronavirus: Directors' Duties
16 April 2020

Coronavirus response - introducing flexiblity to directors' duties? In light of Covid-19, the UK government recently announced its intention to temporarily suspend the offence of wrongful trading by directors of UK companies. This will inevitably have a wide-ranging effect on both directors and creditors.

COVID-19 AND YOUR 2020 AGM >
24 March 2020

The outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) is unprecedented and will have a significant impact on the ability of companies to run their AGMs this year. Contingency planning is crucial and and companies should closely monitor further government direction and guidance. This update provides some more information on the considerations around AGMs. 

CORPORATE GOVERNANCE FOR BROKER FIRMS & CORPORATE FINANCE ADVISORS >
23 March 2020

The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is forcing both management and boards of directors in broker firms and corporate finance advisors to navigate uncharted and stormy seas. Explore some of the key issues that boards and senior management in broker firms and corporate finance advisors should be considering.

Corporate Governance for Asset Managers and Private Equity Houses >
20 March 2020

Coronavirus is forcing both management and boards of directors and partners in asset managers and private equity houses to navigate unchartered and stormy seas. Some of the key issues that they should be considering are: Appointment of a crisis management team; Board continuity; Business as usual compliance.


For a rapid response on any other Corporate Governance issues, get in touch

Will Chalk
 
Will Chalk

Email Will >

 

Crisis Management and Reputation Protection
Reputation matters – Managing reputational risk in a time of coronavirus >
7 April 2020

Unsurprisingly, there is only one story that the media are interested in just now. Saturation coverage of the national and global picture has driven just about every other story off the front page, and the home page. However, that does not necessarily mean that businesses can rest easy in terms of reputational risk. 

For a rapid response on any other Crisis Management and Reputation Protection issues, get in touch

David Engel

 
David Engel

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Data Protection
Coronavirus and Health Monitoring: A way out of lockdown? >
9 June 2020

In this article we take a look at the key privacy issues, and recommended approaches to tackle them. 

CORONAVIRUS - A DATA PROTECTION COMPLIANCE PERSPECTIVE>
24 March 2020

With the outbreak of Covid-19, businesses are facing a completely new landscape when it comes to the handling of personal data. In this article, we highlight some of the key data protection issues that businesses may be facing and consider the best practices to ensure continued compliance in accordance with the recent ICO and EDPB guidance. 


For a rapid response on any other Data Protection issues, get in touch


Helena Brown

Email Helena >

 

Disputes and the Courts
AG Answers RSLs' Most Frequently Asked Questions Amid Covid-19 >
10 June 2020

In this article, we answer frequently asked questions from RSLs.

Material Adverse Change clauses in the midst of COVID-19 >
8 June 2020

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, when markets and trends are changing so rapidly, M&A parties should consider the effect that material adverse change (MAC) clauses could have on transactions. 

The FCA's 2020/21 Business Plan: where are the FCA's enforcement priorities now?
5 June 2020

In this note, we consider what the Plan suggests about the FCA's enforcement priorities for the coming years, and identify particular areas of enforcement risk for firms.

Coronavirus and Financial Services Disputes - part 4 >
1 June 2020

This is our fourth note dealing with issues arising from the Coronavirus outbreak which may be of interest to those dealing with financial services disputes and litigation.

Scotland’s route map through and out of the crisis >
22 May 2020

Yesterday saw publication of "Scotland’s route map through and out of the crisis" the Scottish Government's phased plan for the nation's exit from lockdown.

Trade Credit Insurance guarantee >
18 May 2020

UK Government step in to support businesses through Trade Credit Insurance guarantee.

Litigation Checklist > 

The AG Litigation COVID-19 task force team have prepared a business support checklist to help you deal with the current unprecedented conditions impacting everyone around the world. The team have looked at the most immediate business critical issues and then looking ahead over the coming months what ways you can protect your operations whilst it recovers.

Coronavirus tracker apps – passport out of lockdown or unlawful infringement of privacy? >
30 April 2020

Governments around the world are scrambling for technological solutions which might facilitate a relaxation of the current lockdown measures. One idea which is being explored is the use of apps which can alert users when they have come into contact with someone who may be carrying the virus. 

Coronavirus and Financial Services Disputes - part 3 >
27 April 2020

This is our third note dealing with issues arising from the Coronavirus outbreak which may be of interest to those dealing with financial services disputes and litigation.

Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020- What does it mean for you? > 
3 April 2020

The Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill was introduced on 31 March and passed stage 3 at a meeting of the Scottish Parliament on 1 April. It will come into force after receiving royal assent and is to be known as the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 ("the Act"). The Act makes a number of changes to current legislation including laws dealing with evictions from residential tenancies; bankruptcy; termination of commercial leases and the running of the Scottish court system during a global pandemic. The key changes are set out in this briefing note.

CLAIMS UNDER SECTION 75 CCA >
1 April 2020

The Covid-19 Pandemic is likely to result in a surge of claims under Section 75 Consumer Credit Act. It will throw up unique factual and legal issues, which we can help you to navigate, providing you with strategic advice and additional flexible resource to enable you to respond to claims quickly, consistently and efficiently. 

CORONAVIRUS AND FINANCIAL SERVICES DISPUTES – Part 2 >
31 March 2020

This is our second note dealing with issues arising from the Coronavirus outbreak which may be of interest to those dealing with financial services disputes and litigation.

Coronavirus and the Courts – not quite business as usual >
20 March 2020

The spread of COVID-19 presents an unprecedented challenge to the English judicial system and legal practitioners. This note sets out what we know so far (19 March 2020) about how the courts are responding to the latest government guidance and includes practical information to help the increasing number of court users who are working remotely.

CORONAVIRUS AND FINANCIAL SERVICES DISPUTES – Part 1 >
18 MARCH 2020

The purpose of this article is to set out key considerations and developments which may be of interest for those who deal with financial services disputes and litigation.

CORONAVIRUS - AN ACT OF GOD? >
28 FEBRUARY 2020

Whether it be due to workers not being able to attend work, delays in shipment or cancellation of major events, the virus is starting to have huge commercial implications across many industries. Can a force majeure clause help a party to avoid contractual liability for losses?


For a rapid response for guidance on disputes arising as a result of Coronavirus, get in touch

Michael Barnett
 
Michael Barnett

Email Michael >

 

Employment
The latest HMRC guidance on CJRS extension from November 2020 to March 2021 >
16 November 2020

Further to our update on the CJRS Policy Paper on 5 November, we now have the full sets of guidance on furlough extension and we summarise some key (by no means all) points.  

Summary of CJRS Extension Policy Paper >
6 November 2020

We now have a Policy Paper on the extension which applies to claims made from 1 November until 31 January 2021. It is the government's position that this will be reviewed in January 2021 and that claims from February 2021 will be dealt with in a further guidance following the review. 

Job Support Scheme Open and Closed announced >
27 October 2020

We look at the latest guidance on the Job Support Scheme that was announced by the government on 22 October.

Localised Job Support Scheme announced >
13 October 2020

The Chancellor has announced the Job Support Scheme Expansion for Closed Business Premises which we summarise below. 

Details of Job Retention Bonus published >
8 October 2020

Here is a summary of the details published on the recently announced Job Retention Bonus (JRB). 

Employment aspects of the new Covid-19 restrictions >
24 September 2020

We look at some of the major changes announced by the government on 22 September which are expected to remain in place over the next 6 months. Please note that the following applies to England only.

Job Support Scheme (JSS) – Is it an extension of furlough? >
24 September 2020

We look at the Job Support Scheme and how it will work following The Chancellor's announcement relating to the Winter Economy Plan.

Quest for meaningful diversity: drawing the line between positive action and positive discrimination >
11 August 2020

This article looks at the legal distinction between positive action (permitted under the Equality Act 2010 (EqA 2010)), and positive discrimination (which is unlawful).

Corporate transparency: a new era of increasing scrutiny >
11 August 2020

This article looks at the concerns raised about whether businesses are behaving responsibly during the pandemic in relation to the furlough scheme. 

Job Retention Bonus >
10 July 2020

The Chancellor has announced a Job Retention Bonus scheme to incentivise employers to retain furloughed staff after the furlough scheme comes to an end in October. We offer a brief summary of the scheme and our initial thoughts.

Repayment of furlough: Transparency in overdrive? >
8 July 2020

In this editorial, we look at some of the transparency issues arising out of the furlough scheme. 

Webinar: STEP UP - Managing reputational risk and returning from furlough >
3 July 2020

In this webinar we will be covering the questions on all employers' lips:

  • What do the new furlough rules mean for employers?
  • How can employers prepare for the fallout of the furlough scheme?
  • How can reputational risk be managed?
  • What is AG's outlook for the post furlough world?
New furlough rules and key issues >
25 June 2020

Our latest guide to the revised furlough rules from 1 July as well as some key issues employers will need to consider as the furlough scheme begins to slowly wind down.

Employer furloughing costs under new rules >
5 June 2020

We bring the latest updates on employer furloughing costs.

Latest updates on furlough scheme >
2 June 2020

As set out by the Treasury in its latest update, there are three main aspects of the revised rules announced on 29 May 2020: flexible furloughing; closure to new entrants from July; and changes to employer costs

Latest updates on furlough scheme, holiday rights and ICO guidance on workplace testing >
19 May 2020

We bring the latest updates to the furlough scheme and more.

Webinar - Boot Up: Preparing for a phased return to work - Part B >
18 May 2020

It's been another big week, we've seen the government's updated guidance, the ICO guidance on monitoring and the announcement from the chancellor on extension of furlough. So where are we now? This webinar covers the latest Government review as we enter the first stage of lifting the lockdown.

Employment aspects of the Government's recovery strategy paper dated 11 May 2020 >
13 May 2020

We review the employment aspects of the Government's Covid-19 recovery strategy.

Court of Appeal rejects appeal by the administrators of Debenhams >
11 May 2020

We review the Court of Appeal's decision to dismiss the appeal by the administrators. Please refer to our previous article on Re Debenhams for background facts and the decision of the High Court. 

SUIT UP Webinar – Getting Britain Back to Work >
7 May 2020

Part A of Addleshaw Goddard's two part Employment webinar series. Covering the questions all businesses are grappling with:

  • What will a return to work look like?  
  • How do we make it happen? 
  • And, most importantly, how do we do it safely?

Also joined by colleagues from other jurisdictions sharing how they are handling opening up their economies.

Please click the link for a recording of the session, the slides and also the key points covered.

Right to Rent checks to remain following Court of Appeal decision >

4 May 2020

The Court of Appeal in R has upheld the legality of the Right to Rent Scheme (Scheme) that obliges landlords to check the immigration status of tenants. This means that rent checks must continue to be carried out to confirm that prospective tenants have a right to rent before a tenancy is entered into.

Re Debenhams (in administration) [2020] EWHC 921 >
27 April 2020

This is the second litigation involving the furlough scheme in the insolvency context, following on from Re Carluccio's (in administration). Please refer to our note on Carluccio's for background reading on how the furlough scheme weaves into insolvency law.

Re Carluccio’s Limited [2020] EWHC 886 (Ch) >
23 April 2020

In the first litigation involving the Furlough scheme, the court in Re Carluccio's (in administration) ruled on how the administrators can lawfully give effect to furlough arrangements with the employees who have agreed to the variation of their employment contract.

Skeleton Legal Framework of The Coronavirus Act 2020 Functions of HMRC (Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme) Direction dated 15 April 2020 >
22 April 2020

We bring the latest update on the Furlough scheme, which considers the Treasury directions of 15 April as well as the latest changes to the HMRC guidance.

HMRC's Updated Guidance on Furlough Scheme - Part 2
15 April 2020

HMRC has updated their guidance on 15 April 2020 to allow large number of employees to be furloughed. Find out more about the updated guidance. 

Updated HMRC guidance on Furlough Scheme - Part 1 >
14 April 2020

We summarise the latest changes/clarifications to the Furlough Scheme ('Scheme') published by HMRC on 9 April.

HMRC's updated guidance on Furlough Scheme on 4 April 2020 >
6 April 2020

Following on from our Furlough Q&A and flowchart, HMRC has updated their guidance on 4 April 2020.

Covid-19 Furlough Scheme Q&A >
3 April 2020

We have prepared a Q&A sheet for some commonly (and some not so commonly) asked questions surrounding the Job Retention Scheme.

Furlough Scheme Flowchart >
3 April 2020

We have prepared a simple flow-chart that sets out the basic eligibility criteria for the Job Retention Scheme.

HMRC publishes guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme > 
27 March 2020

Our initial view of the HMRC guidance is positive, in that the process around designating employees as 'furloughed' is relatively light-touch (which seems sensible in the circumstances) and on the basis that there is additional support for employers in terms of being able to claim back employer NICs and minimum pension contributions on top of the 80% monthly employment costs.

Covid-19 related employment law Q&A >
24 March 2020

Explore our latest and most up-to-date covid-19 related employment law Q&A where we deal with the most pressing employment law issues in light of the covid-19 outbreak.

Update on COVID-19 related SSP changes and Spring Budget >
13 March 2020

We recommend that employers continue to keep matters under review including any updated government guidance as well as NHS advice on this matter. Given the maximum refund payable to employers is two weeks' worth of SSP, if you have an enhanced sickness policy you will have to cover the excess. We recommend that all working-from-home records are kept securely and properly maintained.

Workplace strategy surrounding Coronavirus >
9 March 2020

What can companies do to safeguard their employees, maintain business resilience and minimise disruption? We review some of the strategic and practical steps that employers can take in safeguarding employee health, maintaining business resilience and minimising disruption.

Handling workplace issues as a result of Coronavirus >
4 March 2020

We look at some of the issues that employers may face in light of the increasing spread of Coronavirus in relation to their workers. What if employees do not wish to go to work because of the fear of Coronavirus?; If the employee is suffering from Coronavirus, do we have to pay them?; Can an employer suspend an employee suspected of having coronavirus and, if so, what pay are they entitled to?


For a rapid response on any other Employment issues, get in touch

Michael Leftley
 
Michael Leftley

Email Michael >

 

ESG & Asset Managers
Podcast - Let's Chat
27 May 2020

Now more than ever asset managers will need to demonstrate how they are meeting the market's expectations in relation to ESG. COVID-19 will undoubtedly shine a spotlight on asset managers. Access the podcast to find out more...

FINANCE, LENDING AND RESTRUCTURING
Asset Finance and Leasing - 7 key considerations to deal with customer default and minimise complaints >
27 August 2020

Covid-19 disruption places your Collections and Recoveries teams at the heart of keeping customer default at a manageable level as well as preserving important customer relationships for your business. It's easy to lose sight of the basics of good arrears management in these surreal times but careful planning and a team trained in recognising the key issues will ensure you manage the Covid-19 fallout effectively.

The Restructuring Moratorium - A Lender's Q&A > 
6 July 2020

Q&A on the effect of the part A1 moratorium to be introduced by the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 from a Lender's perspective. 

A Practical Guide to the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 >
3 July 2020

The Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 (Act) received Royal Assent on 25 June 2020. The majority of its provisions commenced on 26 June 2020, with the exception of the temporary measures which have retrospective effect from 1 March 2020.

Directors' Duties: A Practical Guide to trading during COVID-19 - Part 2 - Update July 2020 >
1 July 2020

Read our updated guide on The Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020.

Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill 2020 >
29 May 2020

Key insolvency provisions: a practical guide to what has changed and why.

Comparing the 5 Government Lending Schemes >
29 May 2020

COVID-19 has seen a number of emergency funding measures announced by the UK Government to support businesses through this difficult time. In the guide below, we set out what's available, how, when and to whom. If you are a business seeking help in accessing the schemes, or a lender who needs help in obtaining accreditation for, delivering or implementing CLBILS, CBILS, BBLSS, CCFFS or Future Fund, please get in touch.

Covid-19 Liquidity Support for SME Housebuilders >
27 May 2020

With the recent announcement of Nicola Sturgeon's proposed relaxation of the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, the Scottish Government has turned its attention to providing sector-specific financial support to assist the house building industry.

Government Lending Schemes COVID 19 - Advising Lenders >
13 May 2020

The government continues to look to lenders to support businesses to get through the economic problems caused by Covid 19.

Directors' Duties: A Practical Guide to trading during COVID-19 - Part 2 >
01 May 2020

On 28 March 2020, the Government proposed certain insolvency law reforms in response to the COVID-19 crisis, including a temporary suspension of wrongful trading provisions for company directors. To read more about the measures, click on the link above.

Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme >
20 April 2020

Further to our previous briefing, the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) has been launched this morning which will be welcome news for mid-market businesses. This briefing gives an overview of the details that have been released about the CLBILS so far and will be updated as further details are released.

Coronavirus: Directors' Duties >
16 April 2020

Coronavirus response - introducing flexiblity to directors' duties? In light of Covid-19, the UK government recently announced its intention to temporarily suspend the offence of wrongful trading by directors of UK companies. This will inevitably have a wide-ranging effect on both directors and creditors.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme - Update > 
6 April 2020

The Government have announced changes to the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) to make the scheme more accessible to SME businesses. In addition, they have announced that a scheme for mid-market businesses, the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS), is being established with further details to follow later this month. This update looks at the changes made to the CBILS and what we know about the CLBILS so far.

CORPORATE FINANCING FACILITY - UPDATED GUIDANCE FROM THE BANK OF ENGLAND >
25 March 2020

Further guidance has been released by the Bank of England in relation to the Covid Corporate Financing Facility. Read our latest update for more information. 

DIRECTORS' DUTIES DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC - Part 1 >
24 March 2020

Despite such turbulent and unparalleled times, it is important that  directors are mindful that their duties towards the company and its shareholders may switch to company creditors, and should therefore seek advice to avoid breaching those duties. Read more in our latest update. 

GOVERNMENT FINANCIAL SUPPORT PACKAGE FOR BUSINESSES >

23 March 2020

Last week the Government announced a number of measures to provide financial support to businesses struggling with the impact of COVID-19, including two new Government-backed funding schemes. Find out which businesses are eligible for, and how to access the financial support on offer. Read more about the measures and what else businesses need to be thinking about in terms of their financings during these difficult times.

THE EFFECT OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC ON FUNDING ARRANGEMENTS >
16 March 2020

Lenders and borrowers are considering the effect of the COVID-19 Pandemic on funding arrangements. What should they look out for and what pragmatic steps could they take?


For a rapid response on any other finance, lending and restructuring issues, get in touch

Amanda Gray
 
Amanda Gray

Email Amanda >

 

 

Ged Barnes
 
Ged Barnes

Email Ged >

 

 

Financial Regulation
FCA Additional Guidance on Mortgages and Coronavirus >
16 September 2020

Since March this year the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has introduced a range of targeted temporary measures and guidance to help consumers negatively impacted and struggling with mortgage payments in light of Covid. 

COVID-19: Mortgage Payment Deferral Extensions and Update On Exit Strategies >
26 May 2020

On 22 May 2020, the FCA published a guidance consultation on payment deferrals for mortgage borrowers (May Guidance) which supplements the original FCA March guidance (March Guidance) published on 20 March 2020.

Treating insurance customers fairly during COVID-19 >
6 May 2020

The FCA has announced a series of initiatives, proposed measures and guidance for insurance firms and policyholders. In this briefing we consider the key questions insurance firms might have and how they might address the challenges ahead.

10% Depreciation Reporting Under MIFID II >
27 April 2020

The COVID-19 emergency has triggered an increase in 10% depreciation reporting under Article 62 of the MiFID Org Regulation (Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2017/565).

The Challenge For The Challenger Banks >
8 April 2020

For many challenger banks, COVID-19 will be their first true financial crisis. Those who are proactive and meet the challenges head on will likely come out of the crisis stronger. The current regulatory regime was designed to address the issues that arose out of the 2008 financial crisis.  COVID-19 will ultimately raise many new and as yet unknown challenges. This Financial Regulation Insight summarizes the key issues facing challenger banks in the current crisis before taking a more in-depth look at a selection of some of them.

Operational Resilience In Light Of Unprecedented Crisis > 
1 April 2020

The past 18 months have seen operational resilience take centre stage with UK regulators, to help achieve their core objectives – the FCA's concern to ensure consumers are protected and markets continue to function well, and the PRA's concern with ensuring the stability of the UK financial system through its focus on the safety and soundness of the firms it regulates.   

CLAIMS UNDER SECTION 75 CCA >
1 April 2020

The Covid-19 Pandemic is likely to result in a surge of claims under Section 75 Consumer Credit Act. It will throw up unique factual and legal issues, which we can help you to navigate, providing you with strategic advice and additional flexible resource to enable you to respond to claims quickly, consistently and efficiently.

Consumer Finance: Covid-19 and Creditworthiness Assessments > 
26 March 2020

The FCA's rules on creditworthiness and the assessment of a customer's ability to afford the lending they have applied for remain in play. Whilst it is reasonable to assume that consumer borrowing needs may increase and the government is likely to want lenders to help as much as possible, it would be wrong to assume this can be achieved by a more relaxed approach to creditworthiness assessments when customers are applying for new borrowing.  Unless and until the FCA clearly explain that it is prepared to flex its rules in this area – which we think is incredibly unlikely given the journey we have been on to get to where we are - it must be assumed that they are full in force and the regulatory expectation is that firms will fully adhere to them.

Mortgages: Covid-19 Payment Holidays and Repossessions > 
26 March 2020

In light of the exceptional circumstances of COVID-19, the FCA published guidance for firms on 20th March and published updated guidance on 25th March. In addition, on 25th March the EBA published a statement on consumer and payments issues in light of COVID-19 reminding firms to grant any temporary payment measures in compliance with EU law (including the Mortgage Credit Directive (2014/17/EU) and the Consumer Credit Directive (2008/48/EU)).

Payments: Contactless Payment Limits and Covid-19 > 
25 March 2020

In a bid to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus, the finance and payments industry, in conjunction with the retail sector, are increasing the maximum per transaction limit for contactless payments to £45, enabling more transactions to take place without customers having to enter their PIN. This article provides more details about these measures.

Consumer Finance: Forbearance and Covid-19 > 
23 March

There are a number of options available when offering forbearance to customers. Lenders may choose simply to enter into a new agreement. Alternatively they may choose to vary the existing agreement by entering into a modifying agreement or simply provide forbearance by waiving their contractual rights on a temporary basis. 


For a rapid response on any other Financial Regulation issues, get in touch

 
Amanda Hulme

Email Amanda >

 

Health and Safety
New Covid Restrictions announced in England - 22 September 2020 >
23 September 2020

Following yesterday's raising of the UK's COVID alert level to 4 (the second most serious stage), today, the Prime Minister gave a statement to the House of Commons announcing further COVID – 19 restrictions.

Updated Guidance from the HSE on reporting COVID-19 incidents under RIDDOR and new self-isolation guidance >
31 July 2020

Following our previous advice, the HSE has updated its guidance on employers' reporting obligations in relation to incidents involving COVID-19. Read the full article to find out more about RIDDOR report requirements.

COVID-19 - Updated NHS Test and Trace Guidance >
23 July 2020

Updated NHS Test and Trace guidance has been produced by the government.

Working safely during Coronavirus – Grassroots sport and gym/leisure facilities in England >
17 July 2020

This article outlines the government's updated safety advice relating to Grassroots sport and gym/leisure facilities in England.

Working safely during Coronavirus – performing arts in England >
17 July 2020

This article outlines the government's updated safety advice relating to performing arts in England.

Overview Of The Recent Changes To Lockdown Measures >
14 July 2020

Following the COVID-19 alert level being changed from level four to level three (meaning transmission of the virus is no longer judged to be “high or exponentially rising”) on 19 June, the Government has issued guidance on the easing of lockdown measures for England only. 

Update: Face coverings required in shops from 24 July 2020 >
14 July 2020

Under new rules, wearing a face covering in shops and supermarkets in England will be mandatory from 24 July.

Government guidance – 2 July update >
2 July 2020

The Government has produced guidance to help ensure safety during the pandemic. The most recent update provides guidance on the importance of maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors, particularly as pubs, bars, restaurants and hair dressers in England (amongst others) prepare to open their doors to customers on 4 July. 

Scottish Government update guidance for colleges >
1 July 2020

The Scottish Government published guidance for the college sector on 29 June 2020, which takes immediate effect.

Scottish Government update, Coronavirus: business and physical distancing guidance >
1 July 2020

The Scottish Government has updated its guidance for businesses in Scotland on physical distancing and required business closures due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This reflects staged changes being introduced whilst Scotland works through Phase 2 of its route map.

Scottish Government: guidance for universities >
1 July 2020

The Scottish Government published guidance for the university sector on 29 June 2020, which takes immediate effect.

Scottish Government update: guidance for retail, tourism and hospitality customers >
1 July 2020

Scottish Government update, Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for retail, tourism and hospitality customers 

A public inquiry into the Coronavirus response >
30 June 2020

With the Coronavirus pandemic past its first peak in the UK, the government faces increasing scrutiny about how it has handled the outbreak. Whilst the present focus continues to be upon defeating the pandemic, the questions surrounding why it happened and whether the impact could have been mitigated to any extent, will soon need answers

Working safely during coronavirus - Hotels and other guest accommodation >
24 June 2020

The government has produced guidance to help ensure safety during the pandemic, covering a range of workplaces including hotels and other guest accommodation.

Working Safely During Coronavirus – The Visitor Economy >
24 June 2020

With the planned reopening of many leisure and hospitality facilities from 4 July, new guidance has been published to help ensure safe operation. 

Working safely during Coronavirus - Restaurants >
24 June 2020

The government has produced guidance to help ensure safety during Coronavirus. The guides cover a range of workplaces including restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services.

Working safely during Coronavirus - Close Contact Services >
24 June 2020

The government has produced guidance to help ensure safety during Coronavirus. The guides cover a range of workplaces including Close Contact Services.

RTW - Preparing for a new working environment >
16 June 2020

The government’s recent announcement of a gradual relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions means employers are having to re-engage with health and safety considerations associated with a return to work during the pandemic; we have produced a guide that will help you prepare for a new working environment.

NHS test and trace - workplace guidance >
15 June 2020

In England on 15 June "non-essential" retail was allowed to reopen and it became compulsory to wear a mask or face covering in order to travel on public transport.

Masking the reality? >
9 June 2020

What should be the approach towards the wearing of masks or face coverings in the workplace?

Working safely during Coronavirus - safer transport >
18 May 2020

The Government has produced guidance to help operators in the transport sector across all modes of transport to understand how to provide safer workplaces and services for both workers and passengers.

Webinar - Boot Up: Preparing for a phased return to work - Part B >
18 May 2020

It's been another big week, we've seen the government's updated guidance, the ICO guidance on monitoring and the announcement from the chancellor on extension of furlough. So where are we now? This webinar covers the latest Government review as we enter the first stage of lifting the lockdown.

Working safely during Coronavirus - construction and other outdoor work >
12 May 2020

The government has produced guidance to help ensure safety during the pandemic. The guides cover a range of workplaces including the construction industry.

Working safely during Coronavirus - factories, plants and warehouses >
12 May 2020

The government has produced guidance to help ensure safety during the pandemic. The guides cover a range of workplaces including factories, plants and warehouses.

Working safely during Coronavirus - offices and contact centres >
12 May 2020

The government has produced guidance to help ensure safety during the pandemic covering a range of workplaces. This includes guidance for offices, contact centres, operations rooms and similar workplaces.

Working safely during Coronavirus - shops and branches >
12 May 2020

The government has produced guidance to help ensure safety during the pandemic. The guidance cover a range of workplaces including the retail industry.

Working safely during Coronavirus - vehicles >
12 May 2020

The government has produced guidance to help ensure safety during the pandemic. The guides cover a range of workplaces including those working in or from a vehicle such as couriers, mobile workers, lorry drivers, on-site transit and field forces.

Working safely during Coronavirus - indoor labs and research facilities >
12 May 2020

The government has produced guidance to help ensure safety during the pandemic. The guides cover a range of workplaces including indoor labs and research facilitates.

Working safely during Coronavirus - other people's homes >
12 May 2020

The government has produced guidance to help ensure safety during the pandemic. The guides cover a range of workplaces including for people working in, visiting or delivering to other people's homes.

Working safely during Coronavirus - Restaurants offering takeaway or delivery >
12 May 2020

The government has produced guidance to help ensure safety during the pandemic. The guides cover a range of workplaces including restaurants offering takeaway or delivery and the food services provided by businesses.

Covid-19: Working from home - Top 10 Tips
4 May 2020

Download a PDF with Top 10 Tips for safe working from home during Covid-19. 

COVID-19 Update: HSE guidance on RIDDOR reporting >
8 April 2020

The HSE has recently published guidance on reporting COVID-19 incidents under RIDDOR.

HSE update on the operation of businesses, first aid requirements and its own regulatory oversight during Covid-19 crisis >
3 April 2020

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has provided a series of updates today arising in relation to Covid-19, including its expectations from duty holders and its plans for maintaining regulatory oversight.

Locked down or locked up – Police powers and Covid-19 >
1 April 2020

The Coronavirus Act 2020 and the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions (England)) Regulations 2020 came into force on 25 and 26 March 2020 respectively. The legislation was passed in order to enforce compliance with Government guidance designed to restrict the movement of people with the aim of limiting the spread of Covid-19 in the UK.

CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY GUIDANCE - Health and safety perspective - Part 2 >
1 April 2020

Another brick in the wall?

The latest guidance from the UK Government does not require construction sites or businesses to close but does require that any employer who has staff on site must ensure that employees are able to follow Public Health England guidance. This includes maintaining a 2 metre distance from others and following hygiene advice. Employees are permitted to travel to and from work, but only where the work absolutely cannot be done from home.

CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY GUIDANCE - Health and safety perspective - Part 1 >
25 March 2020

The latest guidance from the UK government does not require construction sites or businesses to close but does require that any employer who has staff on site must ensure that employees are able to follow Public Health England guidance. Read a summary of the key points in this article. 

Coronavirus – Guidance note on health and safety issues >
17 March 2020

A company's response to Coronavirus will be key in how employees will feel and react to the issue. The approach to risk management in response to what is a developing situation must be dynamic, with regular review of control measures in light of changes in the risk of transmission.  It is therefore essential that businesses put in place clear and effective means of communication with staff and evidence that the business is considering staff welfare and responding in a way that puts employee safety at the forefront of the decision making. 


For a rapid response on how to respond and prepare a business response plan in relation to Coronavirus, get in touch

Erin Shoesmith
 
Erin Shoesmith

Email Erin >

 

Healthcare
Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Act 2020: Implications for the Social Care Sector >
28 May 2020

The Social Care sector and Care Homes and Home Care Agencies in particular has never been more at the forefront of headlines and people's minds than at present. 

Covid-19 Recovery – Return to Work Considerations for the Social Care Sector >
20 May 2020

Last week, the UK Government began to ease lockdown restrictions, a process likely to be followed soon by the Scottish Government.

COVID-19 Recovery - Key Points for the Health Sector >
14 May 2020

As the government begins to ease lockdown restrictions, this article looks at what this will mean for the health sector.

Historic NHS debt written off – what does this mean for NHS Trusts? >
9 April 2020

In light of the recent announcement from the Health Secretary to write off £13.4 billion of NHS debt, this article takes a look at the structures behind NHS funding, how this move will be practically implemented and any immediate effects.


For a rapid response on any other Healthcare issues, get in touch


Michael O'Connor

Email Michael > 

 

Infrastructure, Projects & Energy
Back to School – Reviewing the Government Guidance from an Asset Manager Perspective
14 July 2020

We explore some of the key takeaways specific to asset managers to help minimise coronavirus risks in the full-reopening of schools.

Covid-19 and the Contracts for Difference Scheme >
8 June 2020

In light of the current uncertainty with the Covid-19 pandemic there have been a number of changes and clarifications announced specifically with regard to Contracts for Difference (CfD) schemes.

Covid-19, Contractual Behaviour and Project Mediation >
13 May 2020

On 07 May, guidance was issued by the Cabinet Office on responsible contractual behaviour in circumstances where the Covid-19 emergency has a material impact on a party's performance of a contract.

The Impact Of Social Distancing On Social Infrastructure Assets >
5 May 2020

In this article, we will be looking at the new normal, social infrastructure, social distancing and technology, contract performance and more.

Relaxing the capacity market rules during the Covid-19 pandemic >
28 April 2020

In the UK electricity capacity market, once generators have signed a Capacity Agreement, it legally binds them to provide electricity capacity as and when called upon to do so. The scheme as currently drafted does not allow for any wriggle room on deadlines due to events like the Covid-19 pandemic.


For a rapid response on any other IPE issues, get in touch


David Hartley

Email David > 

 

Pensions
PENSION SCHEME TRUSTEE UPDATE: COVID-19 > 
24 March 2020

On 20 March the Pensions Regulator issued guidance suggesting that contributions due under the schedule of contributions could be deferred in these unprecedented circumstances, but only subject to careful consideration by the trustees.


For a rapid response on any other Pensions issues, get in touch

Rachel Rawnsley
 
Rachel Rawnsley

Email Rachel > 

 

PLANNING
24 March 2020

Our Planning and Infrastructure Consenting team delve into the far reaching implications of Covid-19 on the planning system. 

Click here to read the full article >


For a rapid response on any other Planning issues, get in touch

 
Marnix Elsenaar

Email Marnix >

 

Policyholder Insurance
CORONAVIRUS AND BUSINESS INTERRUPTION INSURANCE – PANDEMIC PROTECTION? >
23 March 2020

Business interruption insurance is often a critical component of a company's continuity plan. As the government introduces more stringent measures to delay and flatten the peak of covid-19, businesses are facing significant financial losses due to interference with their revenue streams. This article sets out some of the factors which will be relevant to whether your policy covers your business interruption losses from an English law perspective. 

Does Your Business Insurance Cover Covid-19? >
13 March 2020

Policyholders should take steps now to check their insurance policies for relevant coverage and to ensure compliance with policy terms. This may include notification obligations and conditions requiring compliance with guidelines issued by relevant governments or other bodies. Policyholders should also be alive to the limits of their cover and any potentially relevant exclusions.


For a rapid response on any other Policyholder Insurance issues, get in touch

Richard Wise
 
Richard Wise

Email Richard >

 

Professional Practices
Covid-19 - Lockdowned Decisions >
11 May 2020

Included in this update: the potential limitations on discretionary decision making and how management can best protect itself from challenge.

COVID-19 - Management of Professional Services Firms Toolkit >
8 April 2020

The dramatic consequences of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is forcing all involved in the management of professional services firms to confront significant financial issues as a result of the sharp decline in business activity across the UK and global economies. There currently is no "new normal".


For a rapid response on any other Professional Practices issues, get in touch


William Wastie

Email William >

 

Public Procurement
Briefing Note – On PPN 01/20, and 02/20 – Public Procurement, COVID-19 and Payment >
9 April 2020

We have summarised the government guidance on how public sector contracts should respond to the Covid-19 pandemic – including urgent awards and protection for suppliers. This provides practical and useful guidance to authorities and suppliers alike in dealing with current challenges.

Public Procurement Update >
18 March 2020

As the UK's response to the global COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak escalates, public authorities in the UK may find themselves under pressure to make short notice awards in order to urgently procure critical services, works or supplies of key products. In recent days, the Health Secretary himself made an urgent plea for manufacturers to turn production lines over to ventilator production for the NHS, promising "if you produce a ventilator then we will buy it – no number is too high".


For a rapid response on any other Public Procurement issues, get in touch


Jonathan Davey

Email Jonathan >

 

 

Bill Gilliam

Email Bill >

 

Real Estate
COVID-19: Planning and Infrastructure Consenting - Consultation in a socially distanced world >
11 June 2020

While lockdown has eased in some areas of everyday life, social distancing is likely to be in place for some time. In this briefing we discuss the challenges that this provides to effective consultation and offer a few thoughts on how the challenges can be overcome.

Webinar Series: Live, Play, Work >
19 May 2020

In this 3-part webinar series, we were joined by Savills, Colliers, RivingtonHark and Knight Frank to give you a market update and answer the 'most asked questions' the Housing, Student Accommodation, Senior Living, Hotel, Retail, Logistics, Office and Industrial sectors.

Housing Market Released From Lockdown Measures >
18 May 2020

From 13 May 2020, anyone in England can move home but they should follow amended guidance published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. Home buyers and sellers were previously told to delay completion until the end of lockdown.

Right to Rent checks to remain following Court of Appeal decision >
4 May 2020

The Court of Appeal in R has upheld the legality of the Right to Rent Scheme (Scheme) that obliges landlords to check the immigration status of tenants. This means that rent checks must continue to be carried out to confirm that prospective tenants have a right to rent before a tenancy is entered into.

Business rates relief in Scotland >
16 April 2020

The Scottish Government is providing the following Business Rates relief with effect from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021 to alleviate the effects of the Covid-19 on Scottish businesses.

Offices – Key Considerations For Investors, Developers and Funders >
8 April 2020

So far the office sector seems to have fared better than the retail and hospitality sectors which have taken the brunt of the chaos caused by COVID-19. However investors, lenders, and developers invested in the sector would do well to take early measures to manage and mitigate their risks, whether that is in the context of current occupiers, ongoing projects or managing assets secured to lenders. 

Impact of Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill on commercial tenancies > 
6 April 2020

Emergency legislation has been put in place in Scotland to prevent the eviction of commercial tenants who are unable to pay their rent because of the Covid-19 outbreak. 

Planning Considerations (Scotland) > 
6 April 2020

The coronavirus crisis presents unique set of challenges for the development industry with potentially long term implications. A swift and creative approach will be required by the Scottish Government and local authorities to ensure that planning regulatory tools work to support the development industry and ensure wider economic growth.

So how has the Scottish planning system adapted so far?

Hotels Sector – Impact of Covid-19 > 
26 March 2020

Covid-19 is having an unprecedented impact on all sectors, but few have been so quickly and significantly affected as the Hotels Sector. Only a few weeks ago, most couldn't even have conceived of circumstances that could require every hotel in the country to close at the same time. We have been advising our Hotels clients on a variety of issues that have arisen as a result of Covid-19

Covid-19: key considerations from a real estate perspective > 
16 March 2020

We highlight some of the key issues that may arise from a real estate perspective which includes: landlord and tenant considerations; lease termination; lease obligations and consider some practical steps that businesses can take to maintain business resilience in a situation which is rapidly evolving.


For a rapid response on any other Real Estate issues, get in touch

Adrian Collins
 
Adrian Collins

Email Adrian > 

 

Real Estate Disputes
The impact of Covid-19 on rent reviews >
28 May 2020

The immediate focus for many of our landlord clients over the last month has been the widespread non-payment of rent for the March quarter. We are now seeing clients begin to consider the impact of Covid-19 on lease events more broadly including rent reviews.

Recovery Of Arrears In The Context Of Coronavirus >
22 May 2020

Many landlords are reporting that they received less than 50% of rents due for the March 2020 quarter and certain sectors were even harder hit.

GOVERNMENT MORATORIUM ON FORFEITURE ANNOUNCED FOR COMMERCIAL TENANTS IN ENGLAND AND WALES >
24 March 2020

The government has announced commercial tenants who are unable to pay rent due to the impact of COVID-19 have protection from forfeiture of their leases until at least 30 June 2020. This article provides a summary of the key points. 

Landlords considerations on rental concessions >
23 March 2020

In this article, we highlight issues for landlords to address when asked by tenants for rental concessions during the COVID-19 outbreak, particularly as the March quarter day looms. 

Covid-19: Business Rates – Expanded Retail Discount > 
20 March 2020

On 17th March the Chancellor announced an extended business rates relief to provide support during the current Covid-19 pandemic. The Government has now published the guidance notes to local authorities which set out the parameters for such relief. In quick summary: The guidance applies to England only; The guidance sets out detailed criteria to be eligible for the “Expanded Retail Discount”; The relief will apply to occupied retail, leisure and hospitality properties in the year 2020/21; The £51,000 RV limit will no longer apply; The Government have made an application to disapply the State Aid rules.

Covid-19: key considerations from a real estate perspective > 
16 March 2020

We highlight some of the key issues that may arise from a real estate perspective which includes: landlord and tenant considerations; lease termination; lease obligations and consider some practical steps that businesses can take to maintain business resilience in a situation which is rapidly evolving.


For a rapid response on any other Real Estate Disputes issues, get in touch

Julie Middlemass

 
Julie Middlemass

Email Julie >

 

Retail and Consumer
The future of retail in the UAE - Through COVID-19 and beyond >
7 September 2020

New residents arriving in the UAE in January 2020 from Europe, the United States or Asia may have been surprised by how small e-commerce's footprint on the retail sector was. 

Retail & Consumer Bulletin: Covid-19 Updates >
10 July 2020

This week's R&C bulletin looks at how the re-opening of pubs in England worked, the local Covid-19 restrictions in Leicester, Data protection guidance for restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaways, and the chancellor's summer stimulus package.

Retail & Consumer bulletin >
23 June 2020

In this week's bulletin, we analyse the UK Government's easing of lockdown, Track and Trace, and the easing of lockdown in Germany.

Retail & Consumer Covid-19 Bulletin >
16 June 2020

In this retail & consumer Covid-19 bulletin, we look ahead to the June quarter estate for those with store portfolios and we discuss how to manage corporate crime related investigations.

Re-opening Shops: What's in store for SMEs? >
29 May 2020

As shops are set to re-open in England, what's in store for the retail sector and in particular SMEs?

Germany's Easing of the Lockdown: What it might mean in the UK >
23 April 2020

As Germany begins the process of loosening restrictions, Hubertus Schroeder looks at what this could mean for the UK in the near future.

For a rapid response on any Retail & Consumer issues, get in touch

Andrew Rosling
 
Andrew Rosling

Email Andrew > 

 

Speciality Finance
CORONAVIRUS – FLEXING BORROWER OBLIGATIONS >
11 MARCH 2020

As businesses struggle to deal with the logistical and business impact of the Coronavirus outbreak and the prudent steps required to contain its spread, a number of high street lenders are offering payment holidays and/or extended credit to their customers. Specialist Lenders may likewise be inclined to help their customers deal with the unforeseen impact of the Coronavirus outbreak by offering them similar flexibility.


For a rapid response on any other Finance issues, get in touch

Amanda Gray
 
Amanda Gray

Email Amanda > 

 

State Aid
17 April 2020

In this short update, we set out our predictions for how we anticipate each aspect of the UK's £350bn package will be dealt with from a State Aid perspective. While some clarity has emerged since the first version of this update, a number of questions remain. We hope this will help businesses forecast the restrictions which might apply to each of the measures.

Click here to read more > 


For a rapid response on any other State Aid issues, get in touch

Bruce Kilpatrick
 
Bruce Kilpatrick

Email Bruce > 

 

Supply Chains
HEALTH CHECK – IS YOUR BUSINESS PREPARED FOR A PANDEMIC? >
26 FEBRUARY 2020

What can businesses do to protect themselves? Pin point your critical products and suppliers to prioritise and expose key vulnerabilities in the supply chain. Once identified, consider how reliant are these suppliers on the affected regions? Contingency planning. What are the options to re-address the balance of supply and demand? Can production be scaled back to reflect scarce stock levels? Is there an alternative supplier available? What is the impact on medium-term strategy?


For a rapid response on any other Supply Chain issues, get in touch

Ged Barnes
 
Ged Barnes

Email Ged >

 

tax
Covid-19 Landlord Tenant Concessions >
7 April 2020

The Government has announced that commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent due to coronavirus will be protected from eviction as a result of missed rent payments over a period of at least 3 months. Many landlords and tenants are already discussing temporary arrangements to help tenants cope with the impact of Covid-19 on trading.

Staff Secondment and Tax >
25 March 2020

Where businesses are considering seconding their staff towards key industries, there are a number of tax issues they should be aware of and consider.

COVID-19 VAT DEFERRAL >
25 March 2020

Upcoming VAT liability payments have been temporarily deferred due to Covid-19. Read more about the measures, what is affected and who is eligible in this briefing from our tax and structuring team. 


For a rapid response on any other tax isues, get in touch


Justine Delroy

Email Justine > 

 

 

Tech Disputes
IT security - stay safe and secure >
22 May 2020

With a return to ‘normal’ unlikely for some time to come, what should businesses be doing – if they aren’t already – to protect themselves?

For a rapid response on any Tech Disputes issues, get in touch

 
Lauren Hamilton

Email Lauren >

 


Country specific issues:

Germany
Measures in German Employment Law due to the outbreak of COVID-19 >
4 May 2020

In addition to other measures such as emergency relief packages for businesses, the German Federal Government works in record time on new laws for the mitigation of the consequences for employees and employers. 

Measures in German Insolvency Law due to the Outbreak of COVID-19 >
22 April 2020

In addition to other measures such as emergency relief packages for business, the German Federal Government has implemented in record time a new law for the mitigation of the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.


For a rapid response on any other Restructuring issues in Germany, get in touch


Dr. Hubertus Schröder

Email Hubertus

 

Oman
New Rules for Convening General Meetings Electronically in Oman >
28 April 2020

In the overall effort to reduce the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic within the Sultanate of Oman, the Capital Market Authority (CMA) has issued decision E/25/2020 outlining the 'Rules for Convening General Meetings of Public Joint Stock Companies and Investment Funds through Electronic Means’.

Force Majeure - An Oman perspective > 
20 FEBRUARY 2020

For commercial entities that have been or may be impacted by such disruption, now is a prudent time to consider what avenues of relief may be available in Omani law governed contracts. Namely, the concepts of Force Majeure and Unforeseen Circumstances. Whilst these concepts are often overlooked at the time of contracting, they can have important consequences in times of disruption and turmoil.


For a rapid response on any other Force Majeure issues in Oman, get in touch

Nic Henrikson
 
Nic Henrikson

Email Nic >

 

Qatar
Qatar: COVID-19, force majeure and exceptional circumstances
23 April 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented great challenges to governments and companies all over the world, including in the State of Qatar. The pandemic has impacted companies operating in various industries in Qatar—from events to retail to construction and others. Companies that are now unable to perform their obligations or feel that performing their obligations would be exceptionally encumbering for them are considering their options under their contracts and under the law.

Qatar: Employee rights in connection with COVID-19 >
7 April 2020

The COVID-19 crisis has created an unprecedented situation whereby employees' rights are rapidly changing. Sometimes, so fast that it is difficult to keep track. This article seeks to give a brief overview of some of the recent directives given by the Ministry of Administrative Development and Labour Affairs (the Ministry) (and further articles will follow should there be further developments). This will be useful for both employees and employers looking to keep track of developments.

For a rapid response on any other Employment issues in Qatar, get in touch

Ben Brown
 
Ben Brown

Email Ben >

 

Qatar and Coronavirus - Event Contracts >
7 April 2020

COVID-19 has created numerous difficulties, not least for parties to contracts associated with events, festivals and other public gatherings that now need to be rearranged or cancelled following government prohibitions on the same. 

In this vein the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in Qatar (MOCI) has released a circular concerning concerts, festivals, events and other public gatherings that instructs contracting parties to seek mutual agreements to mitigate the impact of the bans.


For a rapid response on any other Event Contracts issues in Qatar, get in touch

Ahmad Anani
 
Ahmad Anani

Email Ahmad >

 

Scotland
COVID-19: Scottish Planning - new legislative measures to allow planning system continuity >
21 April 2020

In light of the current COVID-19 outbreak and social-distancing constraints, the Scottish Government are taking further steps to help keep the planning system moving during the crisis.

Business rates relief in Scotland >
16 April 2020

The Scottish Government is providing non-domestic Business Rates relief with effect from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021 to alleviate the effects of the Covid-19 on Scottish businesses.

Download: Scottish Business Monitor – Q1 2020 >
9 April 2020

The Addleshaw Goddard Scottish Business Monitor in association with the Fraser of Allander Institute is the first major survey of Scottish businesses since the coronavirus outbreak and identifies the scale of the challenge created by the current crisis as well as the effectiveness of the Government policy measures.

Impact of Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill on commercial tenancies > 
6 April 2020

Emergency legislation has been put in place in Scotland to prevent the eviction of commercial tenants who are unable to pay their rent because of the Covid-19 outbreak. 

COVID-19: Planning Considerations for Scotland >
6 April 2020

The coronavirus crisis presents unique set of challenges for the development industry with potentially long term implications. A swift and creative approach will be required by the Scottish Government and local authorities to ensure that planning regulatory tools work to support the development industry and ensure wider economic growth.

So how has the Scottish planning system adapted so far?

Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 - What does it mean for you? >
3 April 2020

The Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill was introduced on 31 March and passed stage 3 at a meeting of the Scottish Parliament on 1 April. It will come into force after receiving royal assent and is to be known as the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 ("the Act"). The Act makes a number of changes to current legislation including laws dealing with evictions from residential tenancies; bankruptcy; termination of commercial leases and the running of the Scottish court system during a global pandemic. The key changes are set out in this briefing note.

COVID-19 – Construction industry guidance - Part 2 >
1 April 2020

The latest guidance from the UK Government does not require construction sites or businesses to close but does require that any employer who has staff on site must ensure that employees are able to follow Public Health England guidance. This includes maintaining a 2 metre distance from others and following hygiene advice. Employees are permitted to travel to and from work, but only where the work absolutely cannot be done from home.


For a rapid response on any other Planning issues in Scotland, get in touch

Sarah Baillie
 
Sarah Baillie

Email Sarah

 

UAE
Dubai Relaxes Restrictions >
29 April 2020

As Dubai announces the relaxation of some restrictions, this article looks at what they are and their likely impact.

Covid-19 and Force Majeure >
2 April 2020

As both the public and private sectors implement measures to curb the spread and effects of the Coronavirus, a number of businesses are facing increasing difficulties with the performance of their obligations under contracts with customers, suppliers and employees.Whilst the long-term economic effects of the virus are not yet clear, a business' immediate ability to comply with contractual terms should be carefully considered, including whether the pandemic constitutes a force majeure event (FM Event) or gives rise to unforeseen circumstances, both in contract and in law.


For a rapid response on any other Force Majeure issues in Dubai, get in touch

Andrew Johnston
 
Andrew Johnston

Email Andrew

 

Checklist for UAE employers >
2 MARCH 2020

We have compiled a checklist of issues for UAE employers to consider and address in response to the global outbreak of COVID-19.


For a rapid response on any other Employment issues in the UAE, get in touch

Ben Brown
 
Ben Brown

Email Ben

 

Sector focus:

Energy & Utilities

Whatever business challenges arise as a result of the spread of novel coronavirus (Covid-19), our Energy and Utilities sector team are actively monitoring risks and responses. We are here to help.

For a rapid response on any Energy & Utility issues, get in touch

Richard Goodfellow
 
Richard Goodfellow

Email Richard > 

 

Managing your people
  • Employee safety and well-being, including control measures in the workplace, travel restrictions (particularly on oil rigs) and contact with customers (smart meter installers).
    Contacts: Erin ShoesmithAdrian Mansbridge
  • The government's ability to forcibly quarantine anyone with coronavirus and to forcibly send someone to isolation if they pose a threat to public health under the Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 and the power of Local Authorities to apply to a Magistrate for Orders to force site closures under Part 2A of the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act.
    Contacts: Erin ShoesmithAdrian Mansbridge
  • Organisational response strategy (e.g. effective communication to ensure that the message is received without causing undue stress and anxiety, designated point people, Q&A infrastructure, prepared responses and interface with government advice).
    Contacts: Sarah HarropSungjin Park
  • Reviewing/adopting package of options to deal with downturn (salary reductions, changing working hours, lay off periods, withdrawing employment offers, requiring employees to use annual leave and redundancies).
    Contacts: Sarah HarropSungjin Park
  • Practical implications of the regulation 3 of the Health Service (Control of Patient Information) Regulations 2002 (processing of patient information for the recognition, control and prevention of communicable disease and other risks to public health).
    Contacts: Erin Shoesmith, Mike O'Connor
Managing your construction, engineering, and FM projects, materials delays
  • Force majeure clauses, delay and delay costs, contract frustration, impossibility and rights to terminate.
    Contacts: John Emerton, Ally Mackenzie
Managing your supply chain
  • Force majeure clauses and possible contract frustration and rights to terminate
  • Interaction with insurance coverage
  • Alternative supply arrangements 
  • Chinese government measures affecting manufacturing and sales, particularly wind turbine blades, solar PV panels and lithium-ion batteries
  • Oil and gas the effect of the oil price fall on the oilfield supply chain

Contacts: Richard WiseMark MolyneuxLouisa Caswell (Force Majeure & Insurance); James WhittakerHarriet Powell (Contracts) David McEwing (Oil and Gas)

Managing your customers
  • New emergency measures to help vulnerable customers – more customer enquiries
  • Postponing non-urgent home visits (e.g. smart meter installations) – impact on installation targets.
    Contact: Paul Dight
  • Price renegotiation with commercial customers as a result of economic uncertainty.
    Contact: Richard Goodfellow
  • Oil demand fall – potential issues with long term supply agreements and drilling contracts.
    Contact: David McEwing 
Maintaining continuity of supply and operations
  • Unusual swings in demand due to change in working patterns
  • Licence conditions to maintain supply despite reduced workforce
  • Contingency plans to operate with only 20% of staff
  • Personnel shortages and inability to access offshore oil and gas platforms

Contacts: Richard GoodfellowDavid McEwing 

Managing your projects
  • Lack of on-site workers and/or materials likely to cause delays in development of projects which will impact:
    • Milestone/longstop dates for projects with a CfD
    • LCITP grant deadlines for projects in construction
    • FIT deadlines for small-scale hydro projects
  • Postponing non-urgent maintenance and reinforcement
  • Upstream oil and gas project-  dealing with co-venturer risk and postpone of offshore projects.

Contact: James Reynolds

Managing your business
  • Cash conservation strategy, including supplier and lender engagement
  • Lenders – engagement strategies regarding covenants and other finance document obligations.
    Contact: Andy Bates
  • Directors' duties and wrongful trading risks.
    Contact: Andy Bates
  • Listed company obligations including disclosure and transparency obligations and managing the 2020 AGM season (relating to companies with 31 December year ends).
    Contacts: Will ChalkRichard Lee
  • Insurance coverage and trigger points (Business Interruption, credit insurance).
    Contact: Richard Wise
  • State aid – the application of state aid rules in relation to the Government's coronavirus support package for businesses. The Government have now announced support of £330bn to mitigate the impact on the economy. £330bn is being made available in loans, £20bn in other aid.
    Contacts: Al ManganBruce Kilpatrick
  • What next? – insights on how Covid-19 may lead to an acceleration in decarbonisation.
    Contact: Anna Sweeney
Financial Services

Whatever business challenges arise as a result of the spread of novel coronavirus (Covid-19), our Financial Services sector team are actively monitoring risks and responses. We are here to help.

For a rapid response on any Financial Services issues, get in touch

Sally Emerton
 
Sally Emerton

Email Sally > 

 

Our cross-disciplinary team have been supporting clients through a number of key issues arising from COVID-19; below are some of the current talking points:

Regulatory issues
  • FCA postponing consideration of all non-critical open consultations to 1st October.
  • Unprecedented measures by FCA to require temporary relief be given to loan, credit card and mortgage borrowers brings its own challenges for firms dealing with their customer base – including changes to systems, websites and staff training. Changes must to be delivered within a demanding timescale, with the added challenge of many implementing these changes working from home. Complex CCA implications within the new legislation, with concerns over longer term consequences. Acute TCF challenges will arise. 
  • Onus on senior managers to ensure appropriate discussion, documentation and oversight of issues around dividend distributions and bonus pool issues.  
  • FCA guidance on SMCR issues including furloughing of senior managers and what happens in the event of COVID-19 illness.  

Key contacts: Steven Francis, Mandie Hulme, Clare Hughes, Rosanna Bryant

Funding schemes

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) is now available through participating lenders but has raised some concerns including:

  • Lack of clarity on impact on certain businesses eg those backed by private equity/reliant on shareholder funding/unconnected groups under common ownership.
  • Type of facilities available dependent upon lender – whilst there may be merits in approaching an existing lender first, however high street banks have been overwhelmed with customer requests and so additional entrants to the scheme may provide well needed alternative sources of emergency funding/agreed principles for intercreditor arrangements between existing and CBILs lenders would help drive efficiencies.
  • Inconsistencies appearing between different lenders approaches to assessing viability/assessing with reference to profitability over 3 years is acting as a barrier to some applicants.
  • Unclear how ultimate pricing amongst various accredited lenders will compare.
  • No scheme currently available for businesses with a £45m+ turnover although there will be soon – likely to involve loans of up to £25m however these are unlikely to be interest free/we will be issuing guidance on that as soon as details are known.

Key contacts: Gaenor Cassell, Sarah Egbu, Martin O'Shea

Policyholder Insurance
  • When does business interruption insurance apply?  
  • Main coverage under these policies is triggered by damage to property although many policies do include extension to cover such as restriction of use of premises, including for notifiable diseases, but it's a complex requirement to satisfy. 
  • Causation and 'wide-area damage' issues are relevant to calculations of lost income / profit.
  • Credit insurance in light of payment defaults.  
  • Obligations for policyholders to mitigate loss and to notify insurers.
  • Use of property for different purposes / left unoccupied must be done in compliance with insurance policy terms.
  • Renewal of insurance policies.

Key contacts: Richard Wise, Victoria Pool

Employment
  • Various options being implemented by employers including accessing the government's job retention scheme, seconding staff into high demand areas (either internally or to other organisations), salary reductions, reducing working hours/weeks or, in some cases, redundancies.
  • Simplicity of job retention scheme has raised questions including issues around consent and the mechanics of obtaining it, annual leave and TUPE transfers. These are slowly getting addressed by the Treasury.
  • Reputational considerations should be central to any decision making as evidenced by recent high profile positive and negative press in relation to employer approaches.

Key contacts: Michael Leftley, Richard Yeomans, Sarah Harrop

Disputes
  • Access to courts – electronic filing of documents, hearings taking place remotely, adjournment of trials.
  • Forbearance including future disputes around terms.  Importance of educating those who are speaking to customers re what to say and how to say it – defence in future claims will rest on those individual conversations.  
  • s75 CCA claims – not always straightforward especially in times of mass receipt of claims.  Importance of putting in a process to track, assessing and categorising claims in a consistent way and positioning yourself to deal with next steps.

Key contacts: James Herring, Sally Emerton, Michael Barnett

Real Estate

Whatever business challenges arise as a result of the spread of novel coronavirus (Covid-19), our Real Estate sector team are actively monitoring risks and responses. We are here to help.

For a rapid response on any Real Estate issues, get in touch

William Boss
 
William Boss

Email William > 

 

Key questions all hoteliers should be asking in light of Covid-19
  • Can you defer or suspend paying your rents?
  • What duties do you have to keep your employees safe?
  • What issues do you need to think about if you are closing hotels?
  • What are the implications of Covid-19 delaying your hotel development?
  • How does Covid-19 affect your supply chain?
  • What can you recover from your insurers?
  • Are the current events sufficient to frustrate your contracts?   
  • How can you benefit from the Government's support measures? 
  • How can you share your resources for the greater good – can your hotel be used by the NHS or the Local Authority – can you lend your staff to areas where there are shortages? 
  • As a borrower, what might be the impacts on your funding line/debt facility and what do you need from your funder in order to protect your position in the coming months?
  • As a funder, what are the issues for development and investment funding lines to hotel businesses and what needs to be dealt with in the funding documentation?

Hotels Sector – Impact of Covid-19 > 

Contacts: Kirsty Nicholson, Lucy Sturrock, Luke Baines, Zoe Maurer 

Retail & Consumer

Whatever business challenges arise as a result of the spread of novel coronavirus (Covid-19), our Retail & Consumer sector team are actively monitoring risks and responses. We are here to help.

For a rapid response on any Retail & Consumer issues, get in touch

Andrew Rosling
 
Andrew Rosling

Email Andrew > 

 

Managing your people
  • Employee safety and well-being, including control measures in the workplace and travel restrictions.
    Contacts: Erin ShoesmithAdrian Mansbridge
  • The government's ability to forcibly quarantine anyone with coronavirus and to forcibly send someone to isolation if they pose a threat to public health under the Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 and the power of Local Authorities to apply to a Magistrate for Orders to force site closures under Part 2A of the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act.
    Contacts: Erin ShoesmithAdrian Mansbridge
  • Organisational response strategy (e.g. effective communication to ensure that the message is received without causing undue stress and anxiety, designated point people, Q&A infrastructure, prepared responses and interface with government advice).
    Contacts: Sarah HarropSungjin Park
  • Reductions, changing working hours, lay off periods, withdrawing employment offers, requiring employees to use annual leave and redundancies).
    Contacts: Sarah HarropSungjin Park
  • Practical implications of the regulation 3 of the Health Service (Control of Patient Information) Regulations 2002
  • Redeployment of staff to support other industries in need of workers 
Managing your supply chain and customers
  • Impact on commercial supply-chains and customer commitments, including:
    • force majeure clauses and possible contract frustration and rights to terminate
    • impact on sponsorship/similar arrangements
    • interaction with insurance coverage
    • alternative supply arrangements 
    • Chinese government measures affecting manufacturing and sales

Contacts: Richard Wise, Mark Molyneux, Louisa Caswell (Force Majeure & Insurance); James Whittaker, Harriet Powell (Contracts)

Managing your stores and warehouses
  • Ongoing negotiations with landlords in relation to the March quarter day, deferral and staging of rents 
  • Business rates strategies, including for vacant stores 
  • The effect on lease obligations, generally, as well as before and after any decision (whether imposed or unilateral) to close by a tenant (or by a landlord eg of a shopping centre) 

Contacts: William Boss, Chris Perrin

Managing your business
  • Cash conservation strategy, including landlord, supplier and lender engagement
  • Lenders – engagement strategies regarding covenants and other finance document obligations.
    Contact: Andy Bates
  • Directors' duties and wrongful trading risks.
    Contact: Andy Bates
  • Listed company obligations including disclosure and transparency obligations and managing the 2020 AGM season (relating to companies with 31 December year ends).
    Contacts: Will Chalk, Richard Lee
  • Insurance coverage and trigger points (Business Interruption, credit insurance, loss of rent).
    Contact: Richard Wise
  • State aid – the application of state aid rules in relation to the Government's coronavirus support package for businesses. The Government have now announced support of £330bn to mitigate the impact on the economy. £330bn is being made available in loans, £20bn in other aid, a business rates holiday and grants for retailers and pubs.
    Contacts: Al Mangan, Bruce Kilpatrick
  • What next? – insights on how Italian R&C businesses are managing the crisis and rapid legislation change.
    Contact: Andrew Rosling
Transport

Whatever business challenges arise as a result of the spread of novel coronavirus (Covid-19), our Transport sector team are actively monitoring risks and responses. We are here to help.

For a rapid response on any Transport issues, get in touch

Paul Hirst

 
Paul Hirst

Email Paul >

 
 
Rail and Urban Transit (including electric vehicles)
  • Reduced rail timetable – more opportunity for freight services? Reduce length of trains – effect on track access charges.
    Contact: Martin Fleetwood
  • Rail freight workers designated as key workers – what does this mean in practice?
    Contact: Martin Fleetwood
  • Bus package– was announced on Thursday 2 April. New funding of up to £167 million will be paid over 12 weeks under the new COVID-19 Bus Services Support Grant. As a condition of the funding, bus operators will be required to maintain necessary services at a level which is sufficient to meet much reduced demand, but also to allow adequate space between passengers on board. This is expected to be up to 50% of normal service levels. The Department is developing guidance for Local Transport Authorities about supporting bus services (nothing as yet). The Bus Services Operator Grant is still being paid even if services had reduced.
    Contacts: Paul Hirst, Sara Gilmore
  • EV chargepoint installations on hold – what does this mean for my rollout?
    Contact: Paul Dight, Cathy Fearnhead
  • Manufacturing redeployment – Alstom in Spain is using 3D printing facilities to manufacture ventilator valves and visors for face shields for use in hospitals. Bombardier Transportation, CAF and Hitachi Rail have temporarily put the production of rolling stock at their UK plants on hold as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Car manufacturers have started converting their plants to produce ventilators and face masks.
    Contact: Clive Smith (for rolling stock)
  • Infrastructure delays – how is the availability of workers, both in terms of contractors and supply chain, impacting upon infrastructure delivery?
    Contacts: Sara Gilmore, Anna Heaton, Cornelia Schäffer
Airports and Airlines
Ports, Logistics and Shipping

Contact: Andrew Smith

Digital Connectivity
  • Extra pressure on broadband with more people working from home
  • Ofcom update including prioritising emergency services and producing revised Plan of Work
  • Many people employed in Ofcom's sectors have been designated as key workers – including telecoms engineers, broadcasters and journalists, and postal workers.
  • Impact on broadband rollout – some contracts have tight deadlines. No clear guidance from BDUK on extending these as yet. 
  • Access to building and roadworkswhat works are "essential"?

Contact: Lauren Payne