Kulzhan Mehrabi on the UK Government’s guidance on acting responsibly in the crisis
On 7 May 2020, the Cabinet Office published guidance on what was generally expected of businesses acting responsibly and fairly as they manage and enforce their contracts during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
Responsible and fair behaviour includes:
In particular, responsible and fair behaviour is strongly encouraged in relation to the following:
The responsible and fair behaviour described should apply in circumstances where COVID-19 materially affects the relevant contract.
To some, the Cabinet Office document may be seen as the UK Government discouraging parties from actively seeking performance of their contracts due to the COVID emergency. Whilst these provisions are not mandatory and do not reflect the current position of English law with the fundamental principle of freedom of contract and contractual certainty, it is not clear how this guidance will work in practice and impact party behaviour given that it expressly states that it is not intended to usurp contractual rights or remedies available at law.
We have yet to see how the courts would respond should a default party to the contract raise this guidance as an argument in its defence.
Kulzhan Mehrabi – Associate Solicitor
“COVID-19 is undoubtedly the biggest crisis in modern history. This is an extremely fast-moving situation and businesses and individuals are facing unprecedented challenges. The key question is how to protect ourselves and our businesses in this crisis. If you have any questions about the legal issues you and your business are currently facing due to the Covid-19, please get in touch. We are committed to helping you and your business with your legal concerns during this challenging time”
The remarks in this article should not be taken to be legal advice. We recommend that before you take any steps, speak to one of our Dispute Resolution specialists to identify the best course of action open to you. For further information, please contact Kulzhan Mehrabi, Associate Solicitor, on 0203 827 6130 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org