Apart from all its other nasty effects, the coronavirus has shown how unprepared lawyers are. Not long after the outbreak of the virus, it became all too obvious that the “force majeure” clauses traditionally worded along Anglo-Saxon lines were not worth the paper they were written on: they simply weren’t suitable for addressing the kind of problems that were arising in the new situation. Based on what we’ve learnt over the past few months, however, it’s now a lot clearer how a “Covid-proof” contract should be drawn up.
The healthcare emergency situation has accelerated the digitisation of tasks and processes in a wide range of areas. Enforcement proceedings based on notarial deeds are no exception, where an electronic procedure became mandatory a few months ago. The only question is how long the signature itself will still need to be in writing.
To this day, the domestic legal system has remained silent on how contracts concluded by email should be treated. However, legislation recently adopted in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic explicitly allows communication via email between a company and its private-individual members. Could this be the first step towards a more comprehensive legal acceptance of emails?
With in-store shopping often relegated to a secondary role, online forms of trading have come to the fore of late. Nowadays, merchants that don’t adopt web commerce solutions alongside or instead of their physical stores can find themselves at a distinct disadvantage in the market. It’s worth bearing in mind, however, that besides implementing various IT developments and having to organise home deliveries, running a webshop requires some major preparatory work in the legal area as well.
Everything that used to be simple and straightforward when concluding or completing M&A transactions poses major challenges to market participants in today’s crisis circumstances. New legal and technical solutions have been designed to overcome these difficulties, some of which are expected to remain with us even after the crisis.
The impending economic crisis is expected to upset the financial position of many businesses. At these companies, the responsibilities of the company manager will also change: in a near-bankruptcy situation, the manager is obliged to take into account not only the interests of the company but those of the creditors as well. But what is simple on paper is not so straightforward in practice.
The law is constantly in flux. While many people may find this intimidating, for us it’s precisely what makes it so exciting. We’d like to share this attitude with businesspeople and managers, and with those who just have an interest in business law, in the form of a regularly updated blog that discusses the latest tax law and commercial law issues in an accessible style. Feel free to send your questions and suggestions for topics you’d like us to cover to firstname.lastname@example.org.