Ian Lindley - Day 4 of the 12 days of PDT Christmas
Published: 13 December 2021
On Day 4, Ian Lindley, Head of Commercial Team explores how the challenges of both Covid and Brexit have impacted the industry, some sound advice for businesses in 2022, as well as sharing some Christmas memories, old and new.
I’m a Partner at PDT and head up the Commercial Team. Together with Faye, I help new and existing clients deal with the day-to-day legal issues which arise in the course of their businesses, including drafting and reviewing commercial contracts, understanding their rights under existing arrangements with suppliers and customers (and identifying and anticipating potential legal disputes), as well as with overarching compliance requirements which may affect them – for example, data protection requirements, anti-bribery measures and export control laws. Part of the team’s work involves advising charities and third-sector organisations on their trustees’ duties and obligations.
Our work in the Commercial Team not only helps our clients deal with these day-to-day issues, but we are able to help maintain relationships with clients who would otherwise only contact PDT at irregular intervals – in doing so, we’re able to make early referrals to other departments for specialist advice so that legal problems are addressed early, minimising complication and expense for our clients.
With my other hat on, I also provide specialist non-contentious insolvency advice to creditors (and in particular invoice finance and asset-based lenders), insolvency practitioners and companies.
The pandemic, coupled with the arrival of the final “Brexit” date, has resulted in significant disruption to commercial relationships, with businesses looking to exercise contractual termination rights in unexpected circumstances and to consider whether “force majeure” clauses in their agreements, which were previously rarely tested or invoked, actually work to excuse non-performance.
Clients who had not reviewed the terms of key customer and supplier relationships recently have had some unpleasant surprises – for example, when looking to exit a relationship they had “locked in” for an extended period prior to the pandemic, or when attempting to rely on a force majeure clause to help deal with Brexit-related supply problems. It’s important for businesses who haven’t yet faced these challenges to review their key contracts and understand the risks they face, as both the pandemic and Brexit disruption seem set to drag on throughout 2022.
With the Treasury seemingly keen to withdraw support for businesses and individuals as soon as political circumstances permit, it’s important for directors, members and senior management in all organisations to anticipate the potential solvency implications for their businesses, whether from supplier or customer insolvency or the effect of current circumstances on overheads and revenues. Where restructuring or reorganisation may be needed, early assistance can not only help set up a business for success “on the other side” of the current storm, but protect directors and shareholders from legal complications and personal liability.
Santa has brought PDT the early gift of our colleague Faye Griffiths, a former PDT trainee who has re-joined the firm in 2020 to work in our commercial, corporate and insolvency teams. Faye brings years of experience in a variety of overseas jurisdictions both in private practice and in-house at a major multinational.
In a year of lockdown “staycations”, I’m looking forward to hill running in the relative quiet of the winter months – and hopefully some entertainingly stormy weather.
A lump of coal. My parents were very nurturing.
Geoffrey Cox, QC MP. I wouldn’t need to pay for dinner.
With an expanding commercial team, PDT will go from strength to strength!
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