COVID-19 Coronavirus legal advice & support for businesses

Dedicated support for businesses needing legal advice in relation to the COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak pandemic in the private, public and third sectors.

We recognise that the outbreak of COVID-19 Coronavirus will present many organisations with unique and unprecedented challenges over the coming months. We are determined to help our clients navigate their way through this crisis and will do all we possibly can to help.

Having put in place very robust business continuity strategies of our own, we are ready and able to provide guidance on specific legal issues relating to your workforce, transactional activity, commercial agreements and dispute resolution – all in the context of COVID-19 and the issues it presents. Our teams of experts are available to advise you on any Coronavirus related concerns you may have to help you effectively manage your business through these uncertain times.

We understand that the issues facing public sector organisations and housing associations may be different, so we have put together a dedicated resource page on the specific pressures facing these sectors.

If you need assistance, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Key areas where we can support

Banking and Finance

 

 

The team is advising both companies and lenders on events of default (and potential events of default) caused by the current climate. We can support you by advising on debt restructuring and renegotiating the terms of your loan agreements and security to avoid further events of default. 

We can help you to put plans in place that realistically reflect the potential adversities over the coming months whether you are looking for advice on your loan agreements and/or security granted to creditors.

Cash flow issues and potential breaches of financial covenants can be addressed by revising scheduled repayments and interest payments, introducing payment breaks, negotiating additional working capital funding solutions or revising the financial covenants in your loan agreement.

Our dedicated banking and finance team, led by Dominic Marshall, is available to provide you with support on debt and other financial issues your organisation may be facing.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch.


Key Contact

Find out more on our banking and finance page or contact Dominic Marshall on:

t: 029 2267 5324

e: dominic.marshall@hughjames.com

Commercial Contracts

 

 

In such uncertain times, cancellation, delay and disruption to supply will be inevitable. Whether you are the buyer or supplier of services, you will likely still have rights and obligations despite the extraordinary circumstances and the wording of your contracts will be vital in determining whether the ongoing outbreak excuses you or the other party from your duties under the agreement.

Our expert team of contract lawyers is able to help on an emergency basis to construe your termination rights, force majeure provisions, advise on any ability you might have to apply the doctrine of frustration (whether or not you have the ability to set your contract aside or not) and what your options are.

We can also review your key contracts and assist you to renegotiate key terms with your suppliers, in particular, delivery and payment schedules to help ensure continuity of service/supply.

For help and guidance, please get in touch.

 

Key Contact

Find out more on our commercial page or contact Aled Walters on:

t: 029 2267 5537

e: aled.walters@hughjames.com

Commercial Property

 

The unprecedented situation we find ourselves in is impacting development processes. With the extra strain currently on the sector, it is important to ensure that you have up-to-date advice to ensure you are able to make the best possible decisions. Our specialist commercial property team is on hand to advise on Welsh Government grant funding, electronic signatures, serving notices or a lack of staff on-site; we are here to help. 

If you need advice, please get in touch.  

 

Key Contact  

Find out more on our commercial property page or contact Peter Hurn on: 

t: 029 2267 5403

e: peter.hurn@hughjames.com 

Construction

 

With the impact of COVID-19 being felt across the whole construction sector, it's vital to understand how it affects contractual obligations for both your business and the other parties. Any legal advice is likely to focus on issues such as force majeure, insurance, extensions of time, loss and expense, suspension/termination rights, the legal doctrine of frustration, and serving contractual notices.

Our construction and projects team is on hand to guide you through these issues and ensure that you are in the best position possible in such an uncertain time. We are also able to offer advice for the future and whether your contracts protect you going forward.

For more information and advice, please get in touch.

 

Key Contact

Find out more on our construction & projects page or contact Ioan Prydderch on:

t: 029 2267 5472

e: ioan.prydderch@hughjames.com

Corporate

 

 

As businesses and public bodies implement home-working protocols in response to government and World Health Organization guidance, we have seen a significant increase in demand for advice on how our clients are able to relax their working practices while adhering to their corporate and constitutional governance processes. Matters which arise include requirements relating to the ability for board meetings to be held remotely, quorum for board meetings, the appointment of additional or alternate signatories and the use of electronic signatures.

Businesses which have recently completed mergers or acquisitions will need to consider their ability to meet contractual obligations in business sale and purchase or merger agreements. Provisions relating to force majeure, contract frustration and rights of termination need consideration in light of any deferred payment mechanisms, warranty and indemnity claims as well as “material adverse change (MAC clauses)" which apply to periods between exchange and completion.

Our corporate team is ready to help and advise on how COVID-19 may affect your business, ensuring you take the correct action as swiftly as possible.

 

Key Contact

Find out more on our corporate page or contact Gerallt Jones on:

t: 029 2267 5531

e: gerallt.jones@hughjames.com

Dispute Resolution

 

 

If you are concerned about the current position of your business because of the impact of COVID-19, we can help alleviate the possibility of potential disputes. We are on hand to answer any questions you may have and advise you on how to minimise the impact of this pandemic on your business.

Our dedicated dispute resolution team, led by Richard Locke, is available to provide you with support and advice on whether your contractual rights offer you any redress; if there is a force majeure clause in your contract (this operates to release a party from its obligations or provide a party with additional rights when unforeseen circumstances happen); if the legal doctrine of frustration will apply if you cannot perform your side of the agreement or if your insurance provides adequate cover.

Please get in touch if you need any advice.

Key Contact

Find out more on our dispute resolution page or contact Richard Locke on:

t: 029 2267 5562

e: richard.locke@hughjames.com

Employment

 

In these unusual circumstances, you need the confidence to take decisive action that results in the right solution for the short and long term, balancing the needs of both your staff and your business.

Our team will help provide you with the clarity required to make difficult decisions swiftly and respond to the constantly evolving circumstances.

We can help you to focus your organisation’s energies on positive steps to safeguard your position, communicate effectively with staff and ease the burden on your managers. 

Our employment and HR services team, led by Louise Price, has vast experience advising businesses through their most critical times. Our wide client base allows us to understand the unique pressures you are facing and the market forces affecting your decisions. 

If you need help and guidance, please get in touch.

 

Key Contact

Find out more on our employment and HR services page or contact Louise Price on:

t: 029 2267 5611

e: louise.price@hughjames.com

Insurance

 

The coronavirus pandemic has forced all businesses to make huge adjustments as they deal with the global health and economic crisis brought on by COVID-19. All businesses should now be carefully checking their insurance policies to see whether they have insurance cover for any financial losses arising from the pandemic.

One example of a policy that may provide cover is a Business Interruption policy albeit that there are other policies that may respond. Businesses that are suffering losses will want to understand how any insurance product will respond and we are seeing a high volume of such queries.

Our team of cross-disciplinary lawyers, each with a deep understanding of the insurance market, is well placed to advise you regarding any insurance queries in these challenging times. Please bear in mind that most policies are likely to contain conditions precedent and it is important that prompt action is taken to maximize the chances of cover being available. Should you have any queries please contact us on the details below.

 

Key contact

To discuss your options, contact Alun Tobias on:

t: 029 2267 5474

e: alun.tobias@hughjames.com

Property Dispute Resolution

 

Our dedicated property dispute resolution team, led by Robert Phillips, is available to advise on the following commercial property disputes that may arise because of COVID-19:

  • Rent Holidays - can you get one; should you give one; practical tips and advice to ensure your position is protected when life returns to normal;
  • Frustration of Contracts in the context of leases - can you get out of your lease contract as a result of the Coronavirus?;
  • Lease Termination - what options do you have to end a lease contract at short notice?;
  • Service Charge Rebates - whether a landlord can insist upon charging for services which aren't being used and from the landlord’s perspective, should you stop providing services and can you recover the costs if you don't.

If you need advice, please get in touch. 

 

Key Contact

Find out more on our property dispute resolution page or contact Rob Phillips on:

t: 029 2267 5571

e: robert.phillips@hughjames.com

Regulatory

 

We are working with the Court service and our clients with public protection responsibilities to ensure that essential work continues to be done. We are set up so we can continue to offer a full service to those of our clients with responsibilities in respect of child safeguarding, adult protection and workforce regulation. In many cases, we are working with our clients to design innovative means to protect the public and comply with statutory responsibilities while still maintaining article 6 compliant fair hearings.

Our team, led by Martin Jones, is well versed on advising clients through challenging times. If you need help, guidance or if you have any questions please get in touch.

 

Key Contact

Find out more on our regulatory page or contact Martin Jones on:

t: 029 2267 5913

e: martin.jones@hughjames.com

COVID-19 Coronavirus legal advice & support for hospitality and leisure businesses

The UK government’s announcement that all pubs, restaurants, café’s and clubs must now close is clearly going to have a significant impact on the hospitality and leisure sectors. In some cases, existing licences can be adapted for use in the provision of home delivery or off-licence supplies. Our regulatory team also advise in relation to contractual issues including in relation to insurance policies.

Whether you are the buyer or supplier of services, the ability to satisfy contractual obligations while also being able to adhere to corporate and constitutional governance processes is now an increasing concern for businesses in the H&L sectors. We are here to help you navigate these issues and provide guidance on matters which arise, including board meetings to be held remotely, quorum for board meetings, the appointment of additional or alternate signatories, the use of electronic signatures, whether a “force majeure” event has occurred or the contract has been frustrated, any other rights of termination that may apply and the consequences or remedies available should the contractual obligations not be satisfied.

Our employment team is also working very closely with businesses within the hospitality and leisure sector to support them through this difficult time. The team is able to advise in relation to a number of options to try to ensure business continuity as much as possible in these unprecedented times, which includes assisting you with the following:

  • provision and implementation of homeworking policies;
  • advice in relation to furloughing, lay off and short-time working;
  • queries in relation to the payment of sick pay, self-isolation and social distancing;
  • health and safety measures for staff;
  • advice regarding care for dependents and restricted travel;
  • redundancy, restructuring and collective consultation exercises;
  • progressing with employee relations work remotely;
  • advice in relation to Working Time Regulations issues; and
  • changes to terms and conditions or restricting pay arrangements.

We will provide you with commercial and pragmatic advice to help you navigate the challenges ahead and mitigate the potential risks.

 

Key Contact

Find out more on our hospitality and leisure page or contact Gerallt Jones on:

t: 029 2267 5531

e: gerallt.jones@hughjames.com

Public Sector & Social Housing

We understand that the issues facing public sector organisations and housing associations may be different, so we have put together a dedicated resource page on the specific pressures facing these sectors.

Find out more

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