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
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 > 
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

Email Rona > 

 

CONSTRUCTION & ENGINEERING
CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY GUIDANCE >
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
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

 

Data Protection
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
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
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

 

FINANCE, LENDING AND RESTRUCTURING
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 >
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
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
CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY GUIDANCE >
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

 

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

 

Public Procurement
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
Planning Considerations (Scotland) > 
1 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: 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 issues, get in touch

Adrian Collins
 
Adrian Collins

Email Adrian > 

 

Real Estate Disputes
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. 


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

Julie Middlemass

 
Julie Middlemass

Email Julie

 

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
24 March 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. We hope this will help clients 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 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 > 

 

 


Country specific issues:

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.

Click here to read more


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

Ben Brown
 
Ben Brown

Email Ben

 

 

Dubai
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 

 

Oman
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

 

Scotland
COVID-19: Planning Considerations for Scotland
1 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. 


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


Marnix Elsenaar

Email Marnix