India webinar: Impact of COVID-19 and handling contractual disputes in the UK and India

On 14 August 2020 we organised a webinar in collaboration with Clyde & Co and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on the Impact of COVID-19 on the legal sector and how to handle contractual disputes in the UK and Indian jurisdictions.

The event was chaired by our Head of International Mickaël Laurans and featured key legal market experts:

  • Lakshmi Kaul, Head and Representative, CII UK – Welcome and introduction
  • Pavani Reddy, Legal Director, Clyde & Co. – provided a UK perspective
  • Parvez Memon, Senior Partner, MZM Legal – discussed the Indian scenario during the pandemic

We attracted over 70 registrations for the online event from across India and the UK. A total of 58 attendees joined the webinar from key Indian and UK legal firms, the UK’s Ministry of Justice (MoJ), Department of International Trade (DIT), British High Commission (New Delhi), International Bar Association (IBA), UK-India Business Council (UKIBC), top private companies from India and legal fraternity from both the jurisdictions.

The topics of discussion were:

  • the present scenario – status of legal profession in India and UK
  • key regulatory changes – support provided by government to help legal professionals in India and UK and to stabilise and resume operations
  • challenges in resuming operations – practical challenges legal firms are facing in UK and India
  • force majeure – analysis of the law of contracts of India and the UK to understand if the force majeure provision shall be applicable to reduce losses in international commercial contracts during the COVID-19 situation
  • can India and the UK learn from other countries' experience which have successfully managed to handle this pandemic, and the way forward

Poll results

We ran live polls during the webinar and gathered some useful statistics.

Percentage of attendees accessing the webinar based on their locations:

  • 24% UK
  • 20% India
  • 2% Other
  • 54% No answer

Biggest challenge faced by firms during the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • 10% complying with contractual obligations
  • 12% maintaining client service
  • 25% operational issues around working remotely/from home, IT/tech issues, engaging employees/team etc
  • 53% no answer

Support provided by the relevant authorities to help their profession in the current circumstances:

  • 2% exceeds expectation
  • 27% meets expectation
  • 12% average
  • 2% below expectation
  • 57% no answer

Practical challenges in resuming operations based by the firms:

  • 42% technical challenges
  • 21% lack of support from the relevant authorities
  • 26% financial challenges
  • 11% no answer

Countries which have/are coming out of the pandemic from whose experience we could possibly learn:

  • 16% China
  • 47% Singapore
  • 11% Hong Kong
  • 26% no answer

Attendees gave positive feedback and found the session informative, excellently moderated and with pertinent insights provided by the speakers on the UK-India legal landscape during the pandemic. The presentations made by the speakers were appreciated with encouraging views received on social media including LinkedIn and Twitter.