GC Horizon Scanner - Summer 2020

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GC Horizon Scanner - Summer 2020

Published 20 July 2020

DAC Beachcroft's GC Horizon Scanner is a selection of legal and regulatory developments that we consider are the most interesting and relevant to General Counsel, senior managers and professionals, allowing them to keep abreast of issues which are likely to impact their business, prepare for opportunities and mitigate risks.

A new era of corporate compliance in a time of financial crisis

As Covid-19 continues to affect businesses during the Brexit transition period, UK and international entities will need to ensure their compliance regimes take into account potentially diverging systems at a time when there is a greater risk of corruption.  This article highlights some of the compliance steps that organisations can take and some of the red flags to watch during this period.

 

Considerations when obtaining and executing a search order

Obtaining a search order is often time critical.  There is a lot to do, in a short space of time, and the work product and execution will undergo maximum scrutiny from the court and your opponent due to the draconian nature of the order sought.  Due to the urgency of the application, the danger can be that important and practical considerations that need to be addressed are forgotten. This article highlights some practical steps which can be taken to ensure the process is as smooth as possible.

 

The Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020

The Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 came into force on 26 June bringing in measures to alleviate the burden on businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic and allow directors to focus their efforts on continuing to operate.  In this article we consider the temporary changes to the wrongful trading regime and other key changes introduced by the Act.

 

Furlough Scheme – Guidance for Companies

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (“CJRS”), in place since March 2020, has proven to be a crucial initiative to stave off economic disaster occurring through the darkest days of the coronavirus pandemic but the scheme is open to abuse. This article considers the hard line approach that HMRC is expected to take when furlough fraud is suspected and the steps businesses can take to best protect themselves against fraud and what to do if there has been a genuine mistake.

 

TUPE: are transfer-related changes to an employee's contract void if the changes are beneficial for the employee?

In a landmark ruling, the EAT has held that all changes to terms and conditions of employment which are made ‘solely or principally’ because of a TUPE transfer are void, not just those changes which are detrimental to the employee. Read more here.

 

The courts are increasingly compelling parties to engage in ADR

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) has numerous benefits. Parties are free to design creative solutions, tailored to their needs; the process is confidential; it gives parties the opportunity to evaluate their opponent and test arguments; and disputes are usually resolved more quickly and cheaply than through the litigation process. This article looks at two recent decisions which suggest that the courts are willing to compel parties to engage in ADR in certain situations.

 

Morrisons reigns Supreme

In a welcome decision, the Supreme Court ruled that Morrisons supermarket was not vicariously liable for the actions of its rogue employee, Mr Andrew Skelton, in unlawfully publishing personal financial details of around 100,000 Morrisons employees. At the time Mr Skelton published the information, he was not engaged in Morrisons’ business, but was instead pursuing a personal vendetta against the supermarket chain. Read more here.

 

The dominant purpose test also applies to legal advice privilege

The Court of Appeal confirmed in The Civil Aviation Authority v The Queen on the application of Jet2.com Ltd that legal advice privilege is subject to a ‘dominant purpose’ test, meaning that for a document to be privileged, the dominant purpose for its creation must have been for use in contentious proceedings in existence or reasonably in contemplation. It is now clear that legal advice and litigation privilege are two limbs of the same privilege and similar considerations apply.  Read more here.

 

Mergers & Acquisitions in the Post COVID-19 World

The number of M&A transactions, the way in which they are structured and the valuations attained will be different in our post COVID-19 world. Companies in a strong financial position will look to be opportunistic, may change their strategy and take advantage of transactions at reduced valuations. Read more here.

 

Re-imagining retail destinations

COVID-19 will accelerate trends that were already underway in the retail space. We are re-thinking how the digital and physical realms co-exist and how technology presents an opportunity to revitalise the shopping experience. Read more here.

 

LIBOR Transition: Some key borrower considerations

The end of LIBOR as the floating rate benchmark on which most commercial lending is based will have far reaching consequences and will impact virtually all companies which have debt facilities. We consider here the key considerations for companies as the deadline for switching from LIBOR to an alternative benchmark rate approaches.

 

COVID-19 Collection

For guidance on how to manage the multiple business risks and challenges presented by COVID-19, we have created a dedicated collection of resources and this is regularly updated as developments take place. Please use this link to access the collection and click the “follow” button if you wish to receive new content going forward.

Key Contacts

Ben Daniels

Ben Daniels

Bristol

+44 (0)117 918 2018

Rachel Cropper-Mawer

Rachel Cropper-Mawer

London - Walbrook

+44(0)20 7894 6888

Francesca Muscutt

Francesca Muscutt

London - Walbrook

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