The Coronavirus has become a source of fear and anxiety around the world on a personal, governmental and corporate level. Businesses are facing major challenges which is forcing them to make tough decisions and assessments of whether they are able to keep services open, supply of goods flowing and fulfil their contractual obligations at this critical juncture.
As we have already witnessed, particularly in the hospitality, sporting and entertainment worlds, there is an expectation that, cancellations and delays will be inevitable in certain business sectors and that, sadly, many employees will lose their jobs. All of which will cause major interruption to businesses, make it difficult or impossible to meet contractual obligations, negatively impact service deliverables, and lead to a lack of financial liquidity, to name just a few of the many knock on effects that will arise. This in turn will lead to disputes arising between contractual parties based on such knock on effects arising, including, for instance, for the delays and/or failure to deliver in the agreed times or at all.
The situation requires legal analysis being undertaken by corporate establishments vis a vis their contractual counterparties, employers towards their employees. creditors towards their debtors and suppliers towards customers on whether to discontinue work, refrain from payment and/or terminate contacts and most importantly, whether Covid-19 can be used to legally justify such actions or not.
Equally important is the need to focus on keeping the lines of communication open and trying to find solutions and acceptable responses to enquiries. Take for example the case