Navigating through Covid-19

The Belgian legal Hub

Navigating through Covid-19: The Belgian legal hub

The rapid spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) is a public health challenge that has affected all of us globally. It has required governments, and particularly healthcare systems, to respond swiftly and in a coordinated way to ensure that they are properly mitigating and responding to the evolving situation to ensure the wellbeing of their citizens.

Covid-19 was declared a public health emergency of International Concern by the World Health Organisation on 30 January 2020. Speaking at a Covid-19 media briefing on 2 March 2020, the Director General of WHO emphasised that the virus is capable of community transmission but can be contained with the right measures.

This is above all a human and social crisis, necessitating some significant changes in the way everyone goes about their daily lives. As efforts to manage the spread radiate across the world, the impact to businesses and economies has become increasingly significant.

Our clients are assessing (as we are ourselves), on a continuous basis, how to address the threat posed by Covid-19 to their workforce, customers, suppliers and wider stakeholders. Financial markets are experiencing considerable turbulence. The situation has the potential to generate both a supply-side and a demand-side shock.

Every organisation will have individual and sectoral considerations relevant to their particular circumstances, and each organisation will likely approach this evolving situation through their business continuity plan.
However, these plans may not foresee a situation of this complexity, magnitude and duration.

The topics covered below offers some practical guidance around how organisations might approach the impact of Covid-19 from a governance and risk perspective, together with some answers to some of the legal questions which we have been receiving over the last few weeks.

A Belgian guide to significant commercial and legal issues

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Operational Resilience

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Government support measures

Following the Covid-19 outbreak, the Federal government, as well as the Flemish and Walloon governments, have introduced a series of exceptional and targeted temporary measures aimed at cushioning the economic shock for Belgian businesses and preventing them from ending up in a deep economic crisis. 

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Workforce wellbeing and other considerations

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Intellectual property

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Managing commercial relationships

  • Supply chain issues
    Supply is an area of significant focus for both businesses and individuals as the Covid-19 virus continues to spread. There are potentially serious implications of supply chain disruptions beginning to impact the global economy.
  • Key contract disputes concepts
    In most situations, the first thought of a good contract manager or counterparty is to seek to resolve commercial contracts disputes via ingrained contract governance procedures or to negotiate a commercial settlement. Nevertheless, any event that leads to public disruption can be a fertile breeding ground for more formal disputes to arise, whether through missed obligations, disruption to services and supply chains, or default arising from financial distress.
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Reporting, meetings and transactional issues

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Impact on regulated firms in the financial services sector

The Covid-19 outbreak has significant and potentially long-lasting implications for the financial sector as it is called upon to buttress the “real economy” while itself navigating the crisis conditions.  

The regulatory response to this challenge has been two-fold:

  • Expectation that financial institutions continue to meet their regulatory obligations (in particular on business continuity and operational resilience) and to serve and support their customers; and
  • Willingness to allow flexibility in the application of some existing requirements and to defer certain other new obligations.
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Financing issues

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Crisis Management

Each organisation should have in place a crisis management policy to ensure that key employees and management are familiar with its operation.

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Topics covered in this site include:

Please find below an overview of our recent Covid-19 publications and webinars

  • Click here to request your access to the Legislation tracker
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