On the evening of 4 January 2021 the Prime Minister announced that we were to enter our third lockdown in England with immediate effect. The restrictions, approved retrospectively by MPs on 6 January 2021, are more severe than the restrictions imposed in the second lockdown and will come as a body blow to businesses – particularly those in the hospitality sector.

The 7 May 2020 Cabinet Office “Guidance on responsible contractual behaviour in the performance and enforcement of contracts impacted by the Covid-19 emergency” was last updated on 30 June 2020 and businesses will continue to be concerned about how to deal with commercial contracts which have become onerous or impossible to perform. Given that there is an increased risk of disputes arising between commercial parties, we urge all businesses to continue to follow suggestions we made in the context of the second lockdown and to make use of the information we have previously published on coronavirus and contractual performance issues.

If we can assist with any commercial contract concerns, please do contact me. We have created a specific scheme called LS Unlock under which one of our leading dispute resolution lawyers will have an initial call, without charge, to discuss potential options in these difficult times.