Check contracts now to avoid risk of Brexit litigation

North West businesses can help to avoid possible Brexit legal issues by being open with their business partners on its potential effects, according to a leading business lawyer.

With only days until the Brexit transition period ends, Jon Esner from regional law firm Napthens says that businesses need to be honest with their customers and suppliers now to reduce the risk of litigation should a deal not be reached between the UK and EU.

The result of new procedures could mean delays to shipments from suppliers in addition to increased costs from customs duties, meaning exporters to the EU could fail to fulfill contractual obligations, leaving them exposed to potential litigation.

He said: “For companies who export to the EU there is a very real chance you will be impacted by rising costs from tariffs, regulations and potential delays, especially if a deal isn’t agreed with the EU.

“It is vital that you check your contracts to see whether you have set times of delivery that you may not be able to comply with. If so, you could be at risk of litigation.

“Exporters with contracts in place for delivery may be able to rely on a force majeure clause to manage any delayed deliveries but for it to be valid you may have to give notice to your customer as soon as possible. That means speaking to customers now and making them aware of the issues before you become liable for failing to fulfill the contract.

“We do expect to see rising litigation and disputes from unfulfilled contracts as a result of Brexit delays, so it is important that you take steps now before it is too late.”

Napthens commercial experts provide a range of services to support businesses through Brexit to help manage operations regardless of whether a trade deal is agreed.

The firm offers Brexit related expertise in commercial contracts, data protection, corporate law, rural affairs and business immigration, including employing EU workers beyond 1 January 2021.

For more information on Napthens Brexit support, visit https://www.napthens.co.uk/services-for-business/brexit/