By: Vikrant Rana
First Published in Lex Witness COVID19 Special Issue – Volume 11 Issue 9 | April 2020
Read about what Vikrant Rana, Managing Partner, S.S. Rana & Co. has to say about legal issues arising out of situation due to COVID-19 outbreak in the Lex Witness COVID-19 Special Issue titled ‘THE COUNSEL’S TAKE: Excerpts from the Experts’
WHAT WOULD BE THE MAIN CHALLENGES FOR AN IN HOUSE COUNSEL TO COME OVER THIS SITUATION?
There are several issues that an inhouse counsel would have to deal with in the current scenario. However, two of the biggest challenges that they will have to face could possible be Contractual Issues and Managing the legal and compliances for the company.
HOW WOULD LITIGATION TURN OUT TO BE IN CASE OF CONTRACTUAL DISPUTES?
Companies would now need to review existing contracts where COVID-19 has or will impact performance. Some of the possible issues that might get into litigation could possibly be issues related to force majeure, impossibility or impracticality of performance, or frustration of purpose as a defense to non-performance. The solution for these issues would highly depend on the courts’ interpretation of the evidence provided by the parties and the legal merits of each given case.
WITH THE COURTS BEING ON HAULT FOR LONG, HOW DO YOU THINK CORPORATES WILL STRATEGIZE?
For corporate houses, this period can serve as the best time to undertake a review of the status of the litigation matters, legal compliances etc which were required to be made by them so that they identify the loop-holes and rectify them upon cessation of the lockdown.
WHAT WILL INDIA INC. DO TO STREAMLINE ITS LEGAL AND REGULATORY PRIORITIES?
India Inc. is intensely examining the legal landscape due to the COVID-19 situation. One of the possible priorities for India Inc. will be to look for more cost effective solutions in the legal and regulatory domain.
AN EXTERNAL COUNSEL, WHAT SEEMS TO BE YOUR WINNING APPROACH ON THE CURRENT SITUATION?
The key approach for us currently is ‘responsiveness’. We are trying to identify the legal issues that our clients may face, analyzing the situation strategically and thoughtfully and are accordingly providing timely solutions. Use of technology in the legal profession is also something that will increase and Firms will need to reinvent themselves technologically and get the necessary ISO and Data Security certifications to give clients a sense of security about their data.
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