Central Government has issued a range of recommendations with the aim of reducing the spread of COVID-19. The measures are not presently framed as legal prohibitions or mandatory instructions but rather advice and guidance. Their effect may nonetheless interfere with contractual performance. If a measure impacts on performance of a contract, those finding performance difficult should:

-urgently review their contractual arrangements and assess any force majeure provisions to see whether termination or suspensory provisions are engaged

-consider whether the contract might be discharged entirely on the basis that it has become physically or legally impossible to perform (unlikely for now given that the Government’s measures are advisory only but this may change in the coming weeks)

-monitor changes in the law and Government instructions which might make performance impossible or illegal (which might enable a party to claim that it is relieved from any further obligation to perform).

This is a fast moving area. Our dispute resolution experts are ready to assist.