The novel coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause mass disruption across the globe, with the extent of the damage yet to be understood. It has led to businesses examining their business models, cutting expenses and re-negotiating contractual relationships. It is hoped that, in this time, people and entities try to work together for general survival, rather than focussing on black letter law. However it is important to know how your contracts work, and your potential options. It is also important to prepare, commercially and legally, for the next black swan event.
“May you live in interesting times”. The well-known apocryphal expression could hardly be more apt to describe the start of the 2020s. The implications for business in the midst of this overwhelming uncertainty are numerous. This article, whilst not constituting legal advice, seeks to address how to mitigate risk in the short term from a legal standpoint.
A contract can be in restraint of trade if one party (“the covenantor”) agrees with another party (“the covenantee”) to restrict the covenantor’s liberty in the future to carry on trade with other persons not party to the contract.
The concept of the planned use of land was first given statutory recognition in the British Housing and Town Planning Act of 1909. Up until then a landowner had complete freedom to develop their land however they pleased, subject only to compliance with health and building acts and bylaws and the common law of nuisance.