With restrictive measures on movement in place during the current outbreak, and only likely to increase in the immediate future, what happens to the traditional methods of conducting business with your funders and other key stakeholders – catch-up coffees, kick-off meetings, site visits, signing meetings and delivery of principal signed documents?
While phone calls, video calls and social media platforms provide alternative methods for the provision of advice and general interaction, they do not necessarily provide an alternative solution to having the signed, sealed and delivered contracts vital to the completion of transactions.
These transactions will still be required for the continuation of business in the coming days, weeks and months - whether it be agreeing new financing lines, or amending existing loan terms, with your funders, agreeing new credit terms with your suppliers and customers or otherwise dealing with your key stakeholders.
Legal solutions to keep transactions going
The law does, though, provide a number of solutions here. Among other things, the Counterparts Act of 2015:
- did away with the need for all parties to sign the same document and instead allows for each party to print off and sign its own counterpart;
- brought in an ability for documents to be delivered by electronic means (including by way of emailing a scanned copy thereof), rather than physical delivery of the principal document always being required (albeit this is still necessary in certain instances); and
- introduced a concept for allowing documents to become effective based upon an agreed delivery date, rather than the last date of execution (which allows parties greater flexibility around the timing of documents being signed and completing transactions remotely).
Therefore, even if you do have to self-isolate, work remotely or otherwise limit your interactions with others, there are options available to you (under the Counterparts Act and otherwise) to allow you to continue to transact with your funders and other key stakeholders to ensure the normal functioning, and continuation, of your business throughout the Coronavirus outbreak.
Get in touch
Harper Macleod's trusted Banking & Finance team are on hand to provide specialist legal advice on your banking and finance issues during these difficult times.
Also, Harper Macleod's specialist teams across all sectors are ready, willing and able to help businesses and organisations deal with the impacts of Coronavirus – both current legal issues and preparing for what might come in the weeks ahead.
Please get in touch with a member of our team, or find out more throughout our website.