Identifying and managing risk is a perennial concern for all businesses. The past year has presented significant new risks in dealing with the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic, which has made its impact felt globally across all sectors and industries, as well as on the daily lives of individuals. But of course that is not the only risk facing organisations in these rapidly changing times.

At our annual conference, chaired by our Managing Partner for Dispute Resolution Damien Byrne Hill, we will explore some key legal and compliance risks facing major corporates, and how those risks can be mitigated. This year the conference will be held remotely and split over two mornings, on 1 and 2 December. Further details for each session are set out below. Click here to register.

Tuesday 1 December 2020, 10 am to 12 noon:

  • The Covid-19 pandemic and its legacy: In addition to its human cost, the Covid-19 pandemic has presented numerous and diverse challenges for businesses all around the world. Those challenges remain a daily reality as the pandemic continues to evolve and cause unprecedented disruption to economic activity. The pandemic has also led to implementation of the most far-reaching reforms to UK insolvency law in over 30 years, which will have a dramatic effect on many businesses whether in financial distress or not. John Whiteoak, Sarah McNally and Natasha Johnson will consider the legacy of disputes the pandemic is likely to give rise to, including contractual disputes as well as disputes relating to insolvency and insurance, together with some practical steps businesses can take to mitigate those risks.
  • The growing risk of UK class actions: Class actions have been a growing risk for UK corporates in recent years, with businesses increasingly facing claims brought by large groups of claimants, which can be very high value as well as high profile. Alan Watts, who heads our UK class actions practice, will chair a panel discussion drawing out the themes we are seeing emerge and the sorts of claims we expect to see more of, both arising from the Covid-19 pandemic and more generally. The panel will comprise Julian CopemanKim DietzelNeil Blake and Sarah Penfold, and will include discussion of shareholder class actions, data breach claims, competition class actions (including the anticipated Supreme Court decision in the MasterCard appeal), and so-called “class action tourism” typically involving claims against UK companies arising from the activities of their subsidiaries abroad.

Wednesday 2 December 2020, 10 am to 12 noon:

  • Responding to a ransomware attack: Cyber incidents, particularly where ransomware is involved, are unlike many other forms of crisis. They will invariably involve a malicious opponent who attempts to inflict as much damage as possible to an organisation, direct the response to their advantage, and will be prepared to lie and manipulate in order to achieve their aims. The immediate response will be crucial to the successful handling of the incident, and decisions will need to be taken quickly. Andrew Moir, Greig Anderson and Kate Macmillan will explore how businesses should respond to such incidents through consideration of a case study, covering issues such as dealing with publicity, whether to pay a ransom, data issues and the role of insurance.
  • Data informed decision-making in disputes: Data and analytics can transform litigation decision making, strategy and risk management for organisations who face complex and high-risk disputes. These tools create opportunities to secure an advantage relative to opponents and also the risk of being out manoeuvred for those who are not up to speed with the latest developments. Alexander Oddy and Emma Deas will discuss new tools for analysing risk in a contentious setting and the opportunities they present for in-house counsel to communicate with and advise the C-suite, as well as the challenges they pose in adapting thinking and analysis.
  • Dispute resolution post-Brexit – risks and opportunities: With the end of the Brexit transition period fast approaching, there is much that remains uncertain as to the future relationship between the UK and the EU, including the arrangements that will apply to jurisdiction and the enforcement of judgments. Paula Hodges QCNick Peacock and Andrew Cannon will consider the risk outlook for English jurisdiction clauses and judgments and the pros and cons of using arbitration to manage risks in relation to cross-border disputes.