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Business interruption claims and COVID-19: Good news for SMEs but what happens now?

Andrew Koffman

On Friday 15 January 2021 the Supreme Court delivered its eagerly awaited judgment in the test case between the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and various insurers.  The FCA was acting on behalf of policyholder businesses disrupted by COVID-19.

To the relief of SMEs awaiting the decision, the court found heavily in favour of the policyholders.

It is estimated that 370,000 policyholders could be directly affected.

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Don’t Let Your Debtors Lock You Down! November 2020 Update

Andrew Koffman

10 tips for reviewing and implementing your credit control procedures: Revisited

The impact of COVID-19 on businesses continues to be severe, as recent statistics show.

In the UK as a whole the most recent ONS statistics show that nearly 30% of businesses, which have not closed permanently, continue to regard themselves as at moderate or severe risk of insolvency.

 

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The Long and Winding Road to a Guarantor Recovery

Jonathan Berkson

Jonathan Berkson

Back in 2004, Porter Capital Corporation (“Porter”), a US finance Company based in Birmingham, Alabama, financed a US corporation (“Corporation”) via an invoice finance facility. To secure the finance, they took guarantees from three guarantors, one of whom lived in London and was a co-owner of a valuable Knightsbridge apartment on Hyde Park in London and shares in a family company. The finance documentation was expressed to be under Connecticut law.

By 2008, things were going wrong for the Corporation and by March 2010 just prior to the Corporation’s Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in the US, Porter wrote making its demand for the account shortfall against the finance agreement’s three guarantors.

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Business interruption claims and COVID-19: Good news for SME’s

Andrew Koffman

The High Court judgment, on Tuesday 15th September 2020, in the test case between the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), on behalf of a number of policyholders, and various insurance companies over business interruption and COVID-19 has been hailed as a lifeline for SMEs.

Many SMEs will be very relieved at the result.  The FCA estimated that 370,000 businesses could be affected by the test case; however not all will have been successful. Two out of 8 insurers successfully defended the claims against them.

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A helping hand to resolve shareholder disputes

Barney Leaf

It was sadly inevitable that the Covid pandemic would push the UK economy into a recession. Unfortunately, the money worries that result from a recession can and often do affect relationships, whether they be personal or business relations.

Even the strongest of relationships have been known to breakdown when finances are tight and the current situation may well have caused the most severe financial pressures that some business owners have ever experienced.

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Welcome news for commercial tenants but not for landlords

Michael Smeaton

The moratorium on evictions for tenants who are behind on their rent has been extended until the end of 2020. The restriction was set to be lifted on 30th September 2020 but the secretary of state for housing, Robert Jenrick, announced an extension to give struggling retailers and other businesses a chance to “focus on rebuilding their business over the autumn and Christmas period”.

The June quarter day saw less than 20% rental payments made and with the next rent quarter day having just passed (29th September 2020) landlords will be bracing themselves for more of the same.

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Forfeiture of Commercial Leases

Andrew Koffman

Landlords cannot at present evict their tenants due to rent arrears, as one of a number of Government measures introduced to ease the burden on businesses due to the Coronavirus.  Tenants will have welcomed this measure; their landlords almost certainly less so.

It makes no difference if the rent arrears pre-date the pandemic.

There are parallel – though slightly different – restrictions on landlords of residential properties.  In this article we focus primarily on commercial leases, where there is a prohibition on landlords taking any repossession action through the courts, currently until 30 September.

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Don’t Let Your Debtors Lock You Down!

Andrew Koffman

Reviewing and implementing your credit control procedures

COVID-19 and the resulting lockdown are having a huge impact on the cashflow of most businesses.  25% of UK businesses have temporarily closed down; 38% of businesses still in operation have reported substantially lower turnover; and 36% of firms have 3 months or less of cash reserves left.

Inevitably this pressure on businesses is set to continue but there is also an opportunity for SMEs to improve your cash position by good housekeeping.  The Government is encouraging a culture of forbearance between businesses at present but this should not require you to take an excessively lenient approach to recovering debts that are rightfully due.

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Will I get my costs back? Update

andrew-koffman

Andrew Koffman

We shared this article in February 2017 and then this article in July 2017, which explained the current rules on recovery of costs by the winner of a court action from the loser. It had been proposed to introduce a “fixed recoverable costs” regime for business and other civil disputes, similar to the one for minor personal injury claims.

Two years on, what if anything has changed?

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