Winter is Coming…
Many Game of Thrones fans will be all too familiar with the legendary words “Winter Is Coming” in the television hit series.
The meaning behind those words is one of warning and constant vigilance from threats such as the White Walkers (horrible human like creatures), and hardship, especially in the winter months.
By way of analogy, and by the time winter arrives, when businesses (we hope), will have re-opened for face to face trade, it is likely that the aftermath of the COVID-19 Pandemic (the White Walkers) will begin to bite.
The court system will be back in flow. Temporary payment holidays to ease cash flow problems are likely to have ceased. Businesses will have adjusted (or will be completing adjustments) to new methods of trade. The cost of lost revenue will also be apparent.
It is inevitable that there are going to be “tensions” between respective businesses. It is happening already:
- Those parties who (through no fault of their making) have been severely and financially hamstrung by the impact of COVID-19. They will be exploring the extent to which performance of an onerous commercial agreement can be avoided.
- Those parties who (through no fault of their making) will be looking to enforce the terms of the same agreement despite the other party being unable to fulfil its obligations.
Tricky times ahead
Business owners and management will need to be even more mindful of the following potential threats to their business which are likely to be “hot topics” for dispute resolution over the next year or so:
- Breach of contract particularly matters pertaining to performance, limitation of liability, and frustration.
- Bankruptcy and Insolvency when chasing (or defending) claims for unpaid debts.
- Possession of residential and commercial property including asset finance arrears.
- Constructive unfair dismissal, redundancy, pay/bonus claims, data breaches and abuse of confidential information.
- Staff having to cope with family, personal relationships and mental health issues which could spill over into the workplace and affect productivity.
It’s good to talk
- Risk crisis, and litigation management will be crucial amongst key members of staff to ensure business continuity.
- Talk with customers, suppliers, tenants, employees, and third-party associates if you anticipate potential disputes.
- Do not bury your head in the sand hoping your problem will go away. The chances are that it will not. Even if the issue temporarily disappears, it is likely to morph into something substantially more difficult to control.
- Explore re-negotiating new/amended terms of business even if it means paying a premium to get you out of a hole.
- Take legal/business advice early.
Should you wish to discuss any of the points further, please contact Austin Ogbata at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 0116 2999 199.