Force Majeure and Coronavirus

The Courts and Tribunals are closing their caseloads, and a great many parties are in a state of frozen uncertainty.  In contract disputes there is huge controversy around “Force Majeure and the Coronavirus”.  Does it apply? Are there any predictable or realistic remedies? In Employment cases, the use of government support in maintaining employment is an excellent initiative, but it opens up many questions and issues on redundancy, dismissal and (potentially) discrimination.

Given the financial urgency and legal uncertainty we all face, the opportunity to reach mutually agreed settlement through mediation is an attractive option. In normal times parties turn to their lawyers, who expensively exchange arguments and build positions before exploring negotiation.  But in times of crisis, these techniques cannot deliver.

Parties are increasingly turning to independent experts in facilitating negotiation who can deliver settlement through mediation. Mediation will focus on the needs and interest in front of the parties, dispensing with the traditional debates over legal rights and wrongs

Historically, mediation was conducted with parties present in the same building, but increasingly the online options, e.g. to conduct telephone mediation, even for very serious issues, are successful and more affordable.

In addition, with the increasing use of video conferencing (Skype, Zoom Us etc) there are rapidly growing opportunities to mediate disputes online. This process is simple, interactive and allows for the parties and the mediator to work together in reaching a settlement.  We work from the CMC’s official guidance re online mediation.

If you have a legal problem, whether it has moved to claim stage or is still building up, you consider involving an expert Mediator to facilitate your dispute. If you require more information or simply advice on how to proceed contact NDR.

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