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Dispute Resolution Update - July 2020

20 July 2020

Welcome to our July 2020 Dispute Resolution Update. We've included articles on a range of issues, including features on Covid-19, Professional Services and Sports Disputes. Since our last Update, Covid-19 and the enforced lockdown has turned life upside down for many businesses and individuals. As the world has adjusted, contentious issues have started to emerge. Not only can we help resolve such issues once they arise, we can also work with you to reduce the risk of litigation. If you have any feedback, comments or queries let us know by contacting Paula Barry.

The impact of Covid-19 and government imposed restrictions

Issues to consider in relation to commercial contracts to survive the government imposed restrictions and plan for the future
We have produced a number of guides on key issues that we anticipate businesses should be considering in the coming months. You can find all of these guides on our webpage here or you can download the full guide here.
Force majeure and frustration flowcharts
The Coronavirus situation may interfere with contractual performance for a variety of reasons. Download here our flowcharts of the issues for those considering whether it is possible to bring contracts to an end (or suspend performance of contractual obligations) without breaching the contract by relying on contractual force majeure clauses or the common law doctrine of frustration... Read more.
I didn’t sign up for this! Can parties escape obligations when the deal changes?
It is estimated that 20% of the world’s population is living under some form of lockdown as various governments roundly seek to combat the spread of Covid-19. The impact has seen businesses forced to adapt to a reality that they would never have envisaged... Read more.
Implying terms into commercial contracts impacted by the government imposed restrictions
We live and work in unprecedented times. The health of the population is rightly the priority, but it is abundantly clear that steps taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are having a very significant impact on the ability of businesses to fulfil obligations in commercial contracts... Read more.
Commercial contracts - key areas to consider in the current crisis
On the 16th June we hosted a Webex addressing a number of key areas of contract law that are of particular relevance during the current time. We focused on Variation; Economic Duress; Duty of good faith; Waiver/Estoppel and Repudiation. If you missed our session you can watch the recording here. The password is: zTAWs3pF. We recommend using Chrome to avoid downloading additional software. Should you have any questions or comments please get in touch.
How best to prepare for legal disputes
One of our Partners Andrew Wanambwa has prepared a short video on how best to prepare for legal disputes for the Technology sector in light of Covid-19. You can view the video here.

Court procedure

Legal Professional Privilege Update
This guide is intended to provide a brief overview of legal professional privilege. It identifies some practical steps which will help to maintain privilege and concludes with a privilege “flowchart” and table of commonly used terms... Read more
Important new case on disclosure, but has anyone noticed?
Given the dominance of the coronavirus over all aspects of life, including the law, it would be easy to miss the appearance of a new case about one of the basics of litigation... Read more 
New guidance on producing witness statements - ignore it at your peril
The preparation and execution of witness statements should be straightforward – keep to the facts and tell the truth. It sounds so simple and straightforward – but there are serious risks for those that fail to heed warnings from the court. A recent case illustrates that poor drafting together with new procedural rules mean that preparing statements is not simple or straightforward... Read more
COVID-19 has closed courts across the world but the judicial system in England and Wales remains operational
Many jurisdictions throughout the world have closed their courts and are operating only on an emergency basis. However, the judicial system in England and Wales is adopting a "new normal". Measures introduced by the government and the judiciary have allowed courts to continue to function... Read more

Spotlight on Professional Services

Does the management team of a professional services firm have the power to deal with an extended lockdown?
Like all other businesses, professional services firms are feeling the effect of the coronavirus outbreak and are having to take steps to ensure survival in a world of mass remote working, empty offices, a decline in clients seeking services and increasing financial pressures... Read more
Deferring tax to January 2021 – a word of warning to management teams and partners
In seeking to survive the coronavirus lockdown, partners and management teams at many professional services firms will have welcomed the package of support provided by the UK Government, including the proposal that on account tax payments due by 31 July 2020 may be deferred until 31 January 2021... Read more
A Deed of Retirement doesn’t always protect a retiring partner
It’s not unreasonable to think that if a partner retires from a limited liability partnership (“LLP”) under the terms of a Deed of Retirement which contains a waiver and release clause, that partner will not be subjected to claims for any liabilities to the LLP... Read more

Spotlight on Sports

Sports Q&A - What's FIFA's position on the transfer window and other regulatory issues impacted by the Covid-19 crisis?
Following the unprecedented disruption caused to football by COVID-19, FIFA published a set of principles and guidelines back in April 2020 in order to address some of the key regulatory and legal issues arising, especially with regard to player contracts and the transfer system... Read more
What are clubs legal remedies if leagues are extended or decided against their wishes?
In this article, John Mehrzad QC, Head of Littleton Chambers’ Sports Law Group, John Shea, Senior Associate in Lewis Silkin’s Sport Business Sector Team and Doug Harmer, Partner at Oakwell Sports Advisory give their expert legal and loss quantification opinions about legal remedies available to Premier League and English Football League (“EFL”) clubs adversely affected by the range of decisions that could be taken to conclude the 2019/20 season... Read more
Will COVID-19 excuse contractual performance in international football contracts? - an overview of Court of Arbitration for Sport jurisprudence on force majeure
COVID-19 has caused financial difficulties for many in sport during the past few weeks, and especially football clubs given the current postponement of the season. It will, therefore, be no surprise if some parties will attempt to use COVID-19 in order to avoid contractual liabilities in the coming months... Read more

Vorsprung durch Tech-Cheat! - Audi suspends Formula E driver after esports body swap
As the saying goes, it’s all fun and games until someone lets a professional esports sim racer take their place - or something like that.Yes, it’s the "rub your eyes and check again" story from Formula E that Audi have suspended driver Daniel Abt after he was disqualified from the Race at Home Challenge for letting a professional esports competitor control his virtual car... Read more

FIFA’s Key Guidelines To Address The Legal Consequences Of COVID-19
Following the unprecedented disruption caused to football by COVID-19, FIFA has been working on several recommendations and guidelines in order to address some of the key regulatory and legal issues arising, especially with regard to player contracts and the transfer system... Read more

Filling the void - how eSports can benefit from football's blackout
We lived in a world of constant football. Broadcasters battled for optimum game-play access, filling gaps around matches with rolling news and late-night debates between ex-pros trying not to go viral with the latest gaffe. Covid-19 brought European football and its media circus to a standstill, with leagues grinding to a halt in line with countries' combating of the pandemic... Read more

Have you met...

John Shea

Senior Associate

John Shea is a Senior Associate specialising in contentious, regulatory and disciplinary issues for clubs, agencies, governing bodies and athletes. He advises clients in relation to a wide range of matters including disputes in the civil courts as well as sport specific arbitration tribunals, regulatory compliance at both a national and international level, disciplinary proceedings for sanctions such as regulation breaches or on/off field misconduct and on the registration and transfer of players including drafting transfer agreements and player contracts.

+44 (0)20 7074 8178


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