The Covid-19 crisis is likely to lead to many high net worth families being brought into disputes in different areas of their lives, including in their businesses, investments or family relationships. On a recent webinar organised by PCD, Lucy Ward outlined the concept of force majeure and how its meaning changes depending on jurisdiction.
A number of corporates have been reported in the press as claiming to be struggling to fulfil their contractual obligations in the wake of Covid-19. Force majeure has been widely reported as a potential resolution of these issues. But it should not be seen as a silver bullet.
Most force majeure clauses require a business to show that it is impossible to perform its contractual obligations, rather than just more difficult or expensive to fulfil them.
How can businesses invoke force majeure in light of Covid-19?
In a recent article that appeared on WeAreTheCity, Lucy explained how businesses could invoke force majeure in light of Covid-19. She writes:
“The business needs to assess whether it can honour the contract in another way – such as by remote working, or sourcing replacement goods or services from a country which is not affected.
“The force majeure event must also be the only cause of a business’ failure to comply with the contract. Businesses will not be able to rely on force majeure, for example, if they were unable to perform before the Covid-19 outbreak.
“Businesses also need to check their notification obligations – often they must notify the other party of their inability to perform as soon as possible.”
To view a recording of the webinar, please click here.
The webinar is free to view, but standard registration details are required.
Private client litigation in the wake of Coronavirus webinar series
James Price, Sam Longworth and Lucy Ward teamed up with PCD to look at the likely implications of the global pandemic on private client litigation. The presentation covering trust disputes issues can be found here, and the other regarding divorce and family considerations can be found here.
This webinar featured presentations on the key issues for private wealth advisors to consider, offering insights into the challenges ahead as well as providing practical tips to keep in mind as we all brace for the new normal.
Covid-19 is impacting individuals and companies around the world in an unprecedented way. We have collected insights here to help you navigate the key legal issues you may be facing at this time.
You can find further information regarding our expertise, experience and team on our Commercial Litigation pages.
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